Collections
Other Name
PORTRAIT MOUNTAIN CHIEF
Date Range From
1960
Date Range To
1954
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAINT, GLASS, FOIL
Catalogue Number
P19693758000
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
PORTRAIT MOUNTAIN CHIEF
Date Range From
1960
Date Range To
1954
Materials
PAINT, GLASS, FOIL
No. Pieces
1
Length
34.3
Width
26.7
Description
FRONT VIEW OF INDIGENOUS CHIEF IN FULL DRESS. RED, BLACK, BROWN, WHITE, SILVER,YELLOW; BLACK BACKGROUND. UNSIGNED. PAINT ON UNDERSIDE OF GLASS, WITH FOIL SHOWING THROUGH.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ARTIST PROBABLY THYRZA YOUNG BURKITT. PORTRAIT OF MOUNTAIN CHIEF. *UPDATE* IN 2014 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. SHE DEVELOPED THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHY OF THE ARTIST, THYRZA YOUNG BURKITT, WITH INFORMATION FROM ARCHIVES CANADA AND THE MEDICINE HAT ESPLANADE ARCHIVES. THYRZA YOUNG BURKITT (NEE HOLMES), WAS BORN IN HULL, ENGLAND IN 1884. SHE EMIGRATED TO CANADA WITH HER FAMILY AT A YOUNG AGE, SETTLING IN THE CARDSTON AREA. HER FAMILY WERE MEMBERS OF THE MORMON CHURCH. HER FATHER WAS A MAGISTRATE IN CARDSTON, BUT ALSO OWNED A STORE WHICH WAS PATRONIZED BY MANY OF THE LOCAL NATIVE POPULATION. THYRZA DEVELOPED A KEEN INTEREST IN NATIVE CULTURE, AND BEGAN TO BUILD A PERSONAL COLLECTION OF ARTIFACTS FROM THE NEIGHBOURING KAINAI, PIIKANI AND NORTHERN MONTANA BLACKFOOT TRIBES. IN ADDITION, SHE ALSO DEVELOPED A KEEN INTEREST IN NATIVE HANDICRAFTS AND ARTS. ABOUT 1926, THYRZA TOOK UP PAINTING AND LATER STUDIED AT LOS ANGELES AND AT BANFF. HER SUBJECT MATTER WAS ALSO A REFLECTION OF HER INTEREST IN NATIVE AND HISTORIC THEMES. HER MOST FAMOUS WORK, ENTITLED "AN INDIAN ENCAMPMENT", HUNG IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY IN OTTAWA. ALTHOUGH UNCLEAR, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THYRZA FIRST MARRIED GEORGE YOUNG. TWO SONS WERE BORN OF THEIR MARRIAGE; CLISBY AND WALDO. IT APPEARS THE MRS. YOUNG WAS LATER REMARRIED TO CHARLES BURKITT, WHO HAD A SON FROM A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE. HIS NAME WAS ALSO CHARLES. WHEN THYRZA'S FAMILY HAD GROWN, SHE BEGAN WRITING, AUTHORING MANY ARTICLES ON HISTORICAL THEMES, AS WELL AS PLAYS AND BIOGRAPHIES. THYRZA ALSO COMPILED A DICTIONARY OF BLACKFOOT TERMS. THYRZA WAS A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE LETHBRIDGE WRITERS CLUB, A MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S PRESS CLUB, THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, AND THE CANADIAN AUTHOR'S ASSOCIATION. THYRZA BURKITT PASSED AWAY IN 1954, AND WAS WELL KNOWN IN THE COMMUNITIES OF LETHBRIDGE, CARDSTON AND MEDICINE HAT. MOST OF HER PERSONAL RECORDS AND COLLECTION OF OVER 200 FIRST NATIONS ARTIFACTS, INCLUDING MIKE MOUNTAIN HORSE’S WARRIOR ROBE WERE PURCHASED BY THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE HAT AND DISTRICT IN 1951, AND NOW RESIDE IN THE COLLECTION OF THE ESPLANADE MUSEUM. SEE PERMANENT FILE P19672488000 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE ESPLANADE MUSEUM’S BURKITT FONDS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ON MOUNTAIN CHIEF WERE FOUND IN THE PERMANENT FILE, IN A DOCUMENT WRITTEN BY THYRZA YOUNG BURKITT: "MOUNTAIN CHIEF, WHO DIED FEBRUARY 2, 1942 ON THE BLACKFOOT RESERVE AT BROWNING, MONTANA, USA, WAS BORN NEAR THE OLDMAN RIVER IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA IN THE YEAR 1848. HE WAS BLIND AND WAS A CRIPPLE SINCE YOUTH FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND. HE WAS THE LAST HEREDITARY CHIEF OF THE BLACKFOOT TRIBE... HE WAS PRESENT WHEN HIS FATHER SIGNED THE TREATY [IN] WHICH THE BLACKFEET GAVE ALL LANDS OWNED BY THEM SOUTH OF MISSOURI RIVER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF USA. [HE] FOUGHT MANY BATTLES... IN 1867 HE LED CAMP OF BLACKFEET AGAINST KOOTENAI'S, ALMOST LOSING HIS LIFE FROM THE HANDS OF CUTNOSE; IN 1871 HE LED BLACKFEET AGAINST CREES IN THE BATTLE OF LETHRIDGE, KILLING TWO WITH HIS SPEAR... IN 1878 HE ENCOUNTERED A BAND OF CROWS. IN THIS FIGHT HE WAS SEVERELY WOUNDED, MAKING HIM A CRIPPLE. IN 1886 HE WAS ONE OF THE CHIEFS WHO SIGNED TREATY TO GIVE ALL LANDS EAST OF SWEET GRASS HILLS TO GOVERNMENT OF USA... [MOUNTAIN CHIEF] MET PRESIDENTS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, MCKINLEY, WILSON, AND TAFT... OFFICIATED AT A CEREMONY MAKING QUEEN MARIE OF ROMANIA AN ADOPTED DAUGHTER OF THE BLACKFOOT TRIBE AT GLACIER PARK."
Catalogue Number
P19693758000
Acquisition Date
1969-04
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail