|While we do not yet know who this man was, his portrait still tells us something about the fate of Native Americans in the United States. We do know that the man was Native American, because of the name, Ta-Do-A-Hoc Tas, inscribed with a sharp tool directly into the metal plate of the photograph (daguerreotypes were made on silver-coated copper plates). |
Ta-Do-A-Hoc Tas poses here with evident dignity and self-possession. But there are questions we can ask. Why would he wear European-style clothes? He seems very comfortable in them, as if he is quite used to them and how they should look and fit? Was he a member of one of the tribes that tied to assimilate with European practices? Did he leave his tribe entirely? Was it his decision to inscribe his name, and was this photograph his possession, or was it kept by the photographer as a kind of memento, with the name as a sort of caption?
We hope that further research will tell us what language the name is in, and that this will lead to further clues about this man.