Miller was fascinated by Sioux adornment and appearances. In his portraits of Sioux men, the artist almost exclusively depicts them in profile so as to show off their distinguishing feature—a single braid atop a clean-shaven head. Miller wrote, “On the top of the head they wear a tuft of hair terminating in a long que, ornamented with flat plates and rings made of brass, from the size of a dollar to that of a dime.” (Ross, 23)
Even in a genre scene like Indian Family in which the family group is only a facet of the larger composition, Miller depicts in exacting detail the Sioux man’s distinctive hairstyle, jewelry, and dress. Though the central male figure and his horses look toward the woman and child, the bare-chested Sioux is himself the focal point of this composition. Standing in classical stance, with his weigh shifted slightly to one foot and torso aslant, the male figure commands the viewer’s attention.
Karen B. McWhorter
LR: AJM. Verso: 63 / Carrie C. Miller / 3 Oklahoma Terrace / Annapolis, Maryland
The artist; [?]; Carrie C. Miller, Annapolis, MD; Mae Reed Porter, Kansas City, MO; present owner