Catlin furthered the naı¨ve hope that Euro-Americans still harboured about the decision to remove them from their homelands. At the same time, seeing the
Choctaw almost exclusively through the sport of ball-play contributed to their further marginalization as a vital community in the eyes of Euro-American society. By their association with such a ‘primitive’ sport, the Choctaw became little more
than the most basic hunting and gathering people, rather than active agents attempting to reconstruct their lives in the wake of great tragedy. For Catlin, scenes
such as ball-play also helped him to resolve the demands of being an artist in America. They allowed him to ‘become Indian’ and to carve out that career he had
always longed to have.