A Jewish immigrant from Prussia, Julius Meyer followed his brothers to Omaha in the 1860s and made contact with various Indigenous nations in the region. Meyer said he learned to speak six Native languages and worked as a translator for the US government. Using beads and tobacco from his brothers’ stores, he began trading and opened his first “Indian Wigwam” store in Omaha in 1872, selling Native goods to customers who were fascinated with the cultures that the United States was trying to erase.
Below, a detail from the photo shows some of the merchandise in the window. Meyer stands just to the right of the doorway. Bottom, Meyer with Ponca Chief Standing Bear, circa 1880.