These rare and beautiful vintage portraits of Native American girls were taken between the late 1800s and the turn of the 19th Century, yet despite being over a century old, many of them are still surprisingly clear.
Women were well respected in traditional Native American culture, and although they generally had different roles from men, they often had the same rights as their male counterparts. They usually owned the home along with everything in it, and in some tribes, while the chief was a man, it was the women who were responsible for electing him. Because women’s activities were considered central to the welfare of the community, this gave them a certain level of social, political and economic power, and even today approximately 25% of Native American tribes recognised by the federal government of the United States are led by women. (h/t: vintage everyday)