Tex Noel just sent me a link to a Library of Congress website that contains digital images, some of which are of Indian football teams. The link he sent was http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/AMALL:@field%28NUMBER+@band%28awal+2164%29%29
Tex suggested that I click on football, which I did. The problem is that I’m easily distracted. Before I could see anything related to Indian football teams, the term “Early films” jumped out at me. The first one, listed just below the sheet music for On Wisconsin!, is moving picture footage (silent of course) from the 1903 Chicago-Michigan game shot by the Edison studio. I doubt seriously if Thomas Edison himself was directly involved in making these films; employees of his probably shot them but were likely among the best in the industry, such as it was, at the time.
Four items down the list is footage of the 1903 Princeton-Yale game, also shot by Edison. A. C. Abadie is credited as being the cameraman. The footage of these old games featuring prominent teams gives one an idea what the state-of-the-art was in football uniforms and equipment at the time. The action is hard to make out at times but some things can be gleaned from replaying the clips.
Eventually, I looked at still photos. The first one I noticed, the one at the bottom of the page, is of an Alaskan Indian football team. It was also taken in 1903. Unfortunately, little in the way of detail is supplied. It would be interesting to know which team this is. Someone knowledgeable about reservations, agencies and schools around the turn of the last century might be able to shed a little light on this.
My person favorite, found on page 6 of the list, is of the 1903 University of Chicago-Haskell Institute game titled “players arguing.” From what I can tell, it looks like they’re doing a bit more than arguing. A higher resolution version might even reveal some players who later transferred to Carlisle.