The Baptism of Pocahontas is one of the most famous of the historical paintings in the Rotunda. However, it has a popular infamy that extends beyond the aesthetic or historical implications of John Chapman's painting. One girl among the lines of children on field trips stoutly declares, "I don't care about anything else in this place. I just came here to see the six-toed Indian." Sure enough, sitting in the foreground with his extra toe splayed out for the eager audience to see, is the renowned six-toe Indian.

But the popular King Kamehameha and the six-toed Indian are not the only American Indians in the United States Capitol. They lurk in dark recesses as statues and busts, are sculpted on pediments and friezes, and worked into paintings and frescoes. This subject matter is interesting in light of the ambivalent relationship that dominant America had with American Indians in the nineteenth century, a subject which is explored further in the Historical Context of the art in the 1850's U.S. Capitol.


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