Native Americans

The original Westerners have been evident in the illustration of Sunset Magazine from the earliest years. At times, the portraiture has been poignant, sometimes tragic-heroic (most notably at the hands of Maynard Dixon), at other times festive, but always sympathetic.

Blackfeet men

Left: “During the last three winters many of the aged Blackfeet men and women have died of hunger diseases even while Nebraska farmers were burning corn for fuel. For instances of actual starvation we need not go to Armenia; we can find them right here in America among the ‘wards of the nation.’” November 1922, p. 19. (photo: Leland J. Burrud)

Right: Ishi, the California Native American who experienced a startling transformation, from solitary hunter-gatherer to celebrity, from the sole survivor of his culture to a museum exhibit and virtual encyclopedia of a vanished way of life. January 1912, p. 109.

Village in Arizona
Men of the Red Earth, painted by Maynard Dixon
Mission of San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Left: “The early period of American rule was extremely unsettled; Indian massacres and the dangerous elements which composed the population: ­prospectors, cow-punchers, adventurers, gamblers, bandits, horse-thieves -- ­leading to one of the worst, though one of the most picturesque, periods of our frontier history. But today, when Arizona claims the most law-abiding population in the United States, the picturesque quality lingers in the sunny villages of the aborigines.” October 1913, p. 671. (photo: Karl Moon)

Center: A very late, but archetypal, Maynard Dixon illustration: the enduring Native American in an eternal Western landscape. May 1938, p. 18.

Right: “Half-a-dozen miles outside Tucson stands the white Mission of San Xavier del Bac, still of extraordinary beauty, sole survivor of that chain of outposts of the church which the friars of the Spanish orders stretched across Arizona in their campaign of proselytism three centuries ago.” The Spanish and Indian heritages of the Southwest were always part of Sunset’s coverage. October 1913, p. 666.

Sunset Magazine cover. May 1978
Sunset Magazine cover. May 1958

Left: May 1978 80th Anniversary cover. (photo: Don Normark)

Right: May 1958 cover