What does the absence of women in Taylor's depiction of the Medicine Lodge Creek Treaty suggest about the role of women in the two societies?
This is as compared to their prominence in Howling's Wolf's depiction.
The different illustrations of the gathering at Medicine Lodge Creek for the signing of the Treaty in 1867 reflects a great deal of information about the relative involvement and significance of women in the two radically different societies, as seen by the artists.
John Taylor's society, reflected in the delegates sent by the United States government, was completely male-dominated. Women were expected to remain in their home areas, raising children and taking care of the domestic tasks. For a woman to have been included in the negotiations and treaty signing would have been unthinkable.
Native American tribes, on the other hand, viewed women as being central to the survival of the tribes. Some tribes based their whole social pattern and structure on matrilineal relationships where the role of the female was dominant when establishing families and of critical importance when making decisions. Women were often viewed as being equals with men in having connections to the spirit world. For women to have been left out of the negotiations at Medicine Lodge Creek would have been out of the question.