SHINDLER, Antonio Zeno (1823-1899, Photographer)
Ma'-za-o-ya'-ti, Iron Nation Brulé [Chief Solomon Iron Nation of the Lower Brulé Lakota]
 Washington, D. C. Addis Gallery, 308 Pennsylvania Ave. ca. February-April 1867. Albumen photograph. (8 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches.). Albumen photographic print on contemporary mount. Image size (including text): (5 x 7 3/8 inches). Sheet size: (5 5/8 x 8 1/2 inches).
An official diplomatic portrait of Chief Solomon Iron Nation, signatory to numerous major treaties with the US Government, taken while in D. C. to negotiate on behalf of the Lakota. Photographed by Antonio Zeno Shindler, an ethnographic painter and photographer working for the Smithsonian who had been a member of William Henry Blackmore's expeditionary party.
Antonio Zeno Shindler (1823-1899), working for the Smithsonian as the official photographer of visiting delegations, took this portrait of Chief Solomon Iron Nation (Ma'-zu-o-ya'-te, variously referred to as Maza Oyate or Iron Nation) (1815-1894) of the Lower Brulé, a Lakota (Sioux) tribe in what is now South Dakota. The chief was visiting Washington D. C. on a diplomatic mission to negotiate a treaty, likely between February and April of 1867. Chief Solomon Iron Nation was a prominent Native American, a signatory to major treaties with the US Government, including the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, the 1865 Fort Sully Treaty, the Black Hills agreement, and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which established the Great Sioux Reservation, in which Chief Solomon Iron Nation lived until his death from pneumonia in 1894. Iron Nation is remembered as a chief who actively tried to work with the US Government and the American settlers to achieve a positive outcome for his people. He was born just nine years after the Lewis and Clark expedition and saw during his lifetime the transformation of the Dakota Territory from terra incognita to full statehood. He led the Lower Brulé people through their most challenging years, transitioning the tribe from nomadism to life on reservations. Chief Solomon Iron Nation, the last head chief of his tribe, is buried in the Messiah Episcopal cemetery at Iron Nation, where there is a seven-foot monument marking his grave, erected by the Lower Brulé Sioux Tribe. It is the first such marker on the gravesite of a Lakota chief. Inscribed on Iron Nation's monument is the following: We, the Lower Brulé Indians put up this stone in memory of our dear Head Chief Solomon Iron Nation Who died November 14, 1894, Aged 79 years. Children, Love one another. Shindler, the photographer, was born in Bulgaria and studied in Paris. He immigrated to the US in 1845 as a member of the English ethnologist William Henry Blackmore's expeditionary party. He lived for a time in Chicago and Philadelphia, where he worked as a drawing instructor and exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, before settling in Washington, D. C., where he died on August 8, 1899. In D. C. he ran the Addis Photographic Gallery, which published this photograph, and worked with his brother-in-law under the name Shindler and Company. Commissioned by Blackmore to make photographic copies of his collection of images, he was also contracted by the US Government to photograph visiting delegations of Native Americans between 1867 and 1869. As Addis had taken over the McClees Studio, Shindler also had access to those negatives of visiting delegations from 1857-58. Thus Shindler's 1869 Smithsonian exhibition, the first exhibition of photography at the Smithsonian, included photographs printed from his own negatives, McClees's negatives, and copy prints made by Shindler of Blackmore's images.