at the Court of
Charles X of France
to enlarge |Artist: Mike
Sponsor: Sen. Charles Ford
Size: 36" x 48"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: 4th floor, Senate
Mohongo was a beautiful Osage
woman at the Chouteau camp on the Neosho River in Indian
Territory, who was among a group taken to Europe under
In 1827, David Dulauney, a French
adventurer and confidence man, assumed the role of an U.S.
representative and arrived at their village with his Indian
interpreter. He told the party that he wanted to take them
to meet the President in Washington. Mohongo and seven
members of her tribe, including her husband, traveled down
the Mississippi to New Orleans and boarded a ship for New
York. The group of Osage were instead
taken to Europe and landed at LaHavre, France. They were
exploited by Dulauney and forced to perform native dances
in a Wild West show that traveled through the continent.
It is known they performed in Holland, Germany and France.
The Osage dancers were very popular and were presented to
and performed for the royal court of Charles X of France.The Osage were abandoned on the
streets of Paris either because the show lost popularity
or, more likely, that Delaunay was recognized by past creditors
and thrown in jail. Unable to communicate, they wandered
homeless through the streets in tattered buckskins and refusing
to beg for food. They came to the attention of Lafayette
who paid their passage back to the United States.
Tragedy struck on the ship home
when Mohongo, now pregnant, lost her husband and two of the
other tribe members to smallpox. After landing at Norfolk,
Virginia, they again lived a hand-to-mouth existence until
a sympathetic landlady contacted Colonel Thomas McKenney,
who helped them.
Three years after wandering Europe
in a side show act, Mohongo finally met President Andrew
Jackson and was given the Peace medal. Charles Bird King
painted her portrait with her child, which hangs in the National
Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Images are copyright
of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund,
Inc. and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or firstname.lastname@example.org for
further copyright information.