Sioux and Sicilian Girls: A World Apart and Strangely Similar

The photo on the left features a Sioux girl named Zitkala-Sa, and the photo on the right is of an unnamed Sicilian girl. I believe most of the Sioux live in the northern Great Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) and Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean.

I was initially struck by how similar these girls look. They were about the same age, living at the same point in time (approximately 1900), and they looked so similar. But everything else–their locations, their cultures, their languages, the occupations they might have had–would have made for very different lives. It would be interesting to know what became of them.

SI Neg. 2004-57779. Date: na.
Platinotype: Left profile of Sioux girl, “Zitkala-Sa,” wearing multiple strands of pearls around neck; dark sepia print
Credit: Gertrude Kasebier (Smithsonian Institution)


Young Woman (Sicily, Italy) Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1890s-1900

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