Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration

The White Cloud

Valor: Even in the Face of History

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The Four Centuries of American Art sheet of twenty stamps was issued on August 27, 1998 in Santa Clara, CA. One of the stamps features the 1844/1845 The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas painting by George Caitlin currently in the Paul Mellon Collection at the National Gallery of Art.

The White Cloud (Mew-hu-she-kaw ) Chief of the Ioway

son of White Cloud (Mew-hu-she-kaw ) the Elder

Orator, Provider, Peacemaker

By 1900, Euro-American settlers had claimed nearly all of Iowa's 36 million acres as farmland. The original Iowa people had signed treaties to accommodate the expansion and had been relocated to a small reservation in southeast Nebraska where they became increasingly impoverished. Mew-hu-she-haw, inheriting the leadership skills of his father, decided to raise funds by touring with other Ioway in London in 1844-45, meeting with British dignitaries. While there, the entourage dressed in formal regalia and were engaged by George Catlin to perform in his studio and elsewhere for donations, part of which was donated to European hospitals. White Cloud was awarded a gold medal by the king. "The Americans have been long trying to civilize us, and we now begin to see the advantages of it, and hope the Government of the United States will do us some good,” White Cloud said. Today, the tribal headquarters of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is located on reservation lands west of White Cloud, Kansas.

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Antler-handled horse quirt with incised decoration, collected in 1873 at White Cloud, Kansas, from Jefferson White Cloud, son of the second White Cloud, and the first to sign the United States 1891 land treaty with the Iowa.
20/2323 Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.