SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Native American birch bark letter, artwork. This letter was found above St Anthony's Falls, on the Mississippi River, Minnesota, USA, in 1820. It refers to a party of Sioux, headed by Chakope and accompanied by the US Army officer Colonel Leavenworth (both at left below the Union flag and the settlement of Cole Springs). At right are subsidiary chiefs, with the wigwams they ruled. The party had come to negotiate peace with the Chippewa tribe. Such picture-writing, the earliest form of writing, represents ideas and not words or letters. The Chippewa chief who found the letter was able to read it with ease. Artwork from The Origin of Civilisation and the Primitive Condition of Man (Sir John Lubbock, 1870).
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