Artist: Peter Stephenson
Title: The Wounded Indian, 1848-50
35 1/8 x 59 x 31 in. (89.2 x 149.9 x 78.7 cm)
Gift of James H. Ricau and Museum Purchase
As a child, Peter Stephenson befriended and lived in close proximity of American Indian tribes. That experience would leave an enduring mark. Stephenson would use the subject of Indians throughout his brief artistic career. Carved from Vermont marble, Stephenson portrays an injured Indian. Sitting with his back stooped and his weight on one hand, a wound from an arrow oozes from his abdomen. Sorrow and pain are expressed through his lowered head and raised veins of his arm and leg. To viewers today, this sculpture represents the struggle of the American Indian as they were forced to give up their land to white settlers. Their hardships were not over. In 1868, the 14th Amendment provided citizenship to persons who were born or naturalized in the United States. Unfortunately, American Indians were excluded. It was not until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 that indigenous people were granted full U.S. citizenship.