The Kiowa Drawings of Gotebo (1847-1927): A Self-Portrait of Cultural and Religious Transition


Ten color drawings made by Gotebo, a Kiowa, around 1914 chronicle several of the major cultural and religious experiences and transitions in his life from the pre-reservation period into the early twentieth century. Focusing on the period between circa 1865 to the 1890s, the drawings illustrate his experiences as a warrior, his first two marriages, and his religious participation in the Sun Dance, Peyotism, and Christianity. Because so much Plains Indian ledger art that has been published relates to warfare, hunting, and related pre-reservation aspects, these subjects are often taken to represent the full range of that art form. The majority of published Kiowa drawings have focused primarily on those by a few of the prisoners at Ft. Marion, Silverhorn, and the Kiowa Five. The drawings of individuals like Gotebo, a contemporary of the Kiowa who were sent to Fort Marion, are important because they provide a glimpse into other aspects of Kiowa life during the tumultuous changes experienced during the reservation period while expanding the range of known Kiowa drawings and ledger art. In contrast to the works of individuals portraying others, these are a set of self-portraits.


Sociology and Anthropology

Document Type





Gotebo, Kiowa Indians, ledger art, religion, Rainy Mountain Kiowa Indian Baptist Church

Publication Date


Journal Title

Plains Anthropologist