The Indian Country, 1800: A Brilliant Plan for Living
Creators Gifts Men and Women A Vast Network


Gift of Elk

In 1800, the American elk (Cervus canadensis) ranged from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Rising to more than five feet at the shoulder and weighing over 1,000 pounds, elk were an important source of food, clothing, and tools across the Indian country. They were viewed universally as one of nature’s great gifts to humans.

John James Audubon (1785–1851) followed The Birds of America with Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, published during the last years of the great illustrator’s life. Printed in several formats, the book was illustrated both by John James and his son John Woodhouse Audubon. The text was by Audubon’s friend John Bachman.

John James Audubon. “Elk,” from The Quadrupeds of North America, 1851-1854.

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