This photo was taken in the 19th century when the native Americans were being 'resettled' due to the aggressive westward expansion of the United States.
The photo is of a native American camp which gives us an insight into their lives during this period. It can be seen as quite a depressing image as the natives are expressionless as they look at the camera and the conditions look extremely miserable. In the background there are numerous tipis bunched together and does not look as plentiful as described by the early settlers. The land could be unfamiliar to the natives which could explain why they are sitting around and why they look so unhappy.
What the photographer wanted to show from this photo is unclear but to me it could either be a way of proving how uncivil the natives were or perhaps to demonstarte the hardship being experienced due to the relocation laws.