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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
The Osages -
Mertie Rusk


Mertie Rusk is the child on the left, Bertha's half sister. Bertha is on the right.Mertie Rusk is the child on the left, Bertha's half sister. Bertha is on the right. The quiet observant way of the Native American was caught in this picture by the photographer. Barely visible there is almost a smile on Bertha's face. No comment is made in the presence of strangers. Only when they were alone with each other would there be discussion of all the events as to their differences, meaning or reason for being. Sometimes, the privately shared conversations would be held amid uproarious laughter as they would strive to understand the behavior of the Anglo people around them.

Most often there were references made as to the personalities of the Indians being stoic. No one would have believed this if they could have been present during private discussions among themselves. The fact the Natives never cracked a smile was an honest respect for their guests and an exercise of self control. If they would have given way to their true feelings in the presence of their guests it would have been considered rude. They would never openly do this. One can see Bertha, the older girl here, is better at it than the little girl, Mertie, who is having to work at following her sister's example.

Mertie has on an Anglo dress but her feet show the tradtional mocassin. Bertha looks to wear regular shoes.

Soft leather, warm woolen blankets, soft cotton fabrics such as the dress on Mertie, here, one can see are being replaced by more crisp sharp stiff fabrics introduced by another race.