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Kahkewaquonaby or Peter Jones?
Kahkewaquonaby's face looks carefully away, down, from the camera above the hand-tooled trade tomahawk he holds. Focusing his eyes outside the photograph, he does not shake his pointed, feathered cap at whose apex plumes explode, like the tail feathers of some huge exotic bird that has chosen to nest on his head. The tomahawk in his left hand, his right casually clasps the beaded bag hanging down from the board sash at his waist. The dominant central motif is a thunderbird or the popular nineteenth-century spread-eagle. He wears a long-sleeved, beaded at the cuff, knee-length buckskin coat, and beaded-bordered leggings cover the calves and fall over the moccasins with their beaded toes. The left foot rests slightly higher on a curbstone. In this fourth decade of the last century, two Scots, David Hill and Robert Adamson made this calotype, the earliest known photograph of a North American Indian. Less than a decade old, photography might have given us that first likeness in the fading form of Kahkewaquonaby, but he prefers the appellation Peter Jones and the earned title of reverend, so I suspect that he also like the comfort of cotton, rides a fine horse, and sits at a table to eat the pork his wife cooks on an iron stove. On the ground before him, his pipe and several fired bricks behind him, Peter Jones stands before a background or underbrush or a background painted to appear as such. Under his buckskin coat, Peter feels his form against the field. Air draws close with humidity, and light fades as a cloud covers the sun, when Hill holler in English, "Reverend, you can move now." At that Reverend Peter Jones leaves the studio, but Kahkewaquonaby finds himself finally and forever fastened in this photograph.