Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Not All American Indians Are Red

Mainstream America has effectively marginalized our inherited way of being and, although restricted, it is still very much alive despite the history and purpose of the Europeans, which was to produce people who might appear to be “look-like Indians,” but shall be European in spirit and habits of mind. It has uprooted us in the sense that there is complete disjunction with our traditions and culture which has infused in many of us a spirit of self-denigration. Further, celebrated photographer, Edward Curtis (1869−1952) worked tirelessly to capture images of Indian people that became the dominant culture’s popular conception of “noble savages.” The widespread belief that Indians were a dying race created both a fascination with them as a people and lent a sense of urgency to Curtis’ massive project. His work focused principally on real Indians, whose traditional ways of life were coming to an end as the U.S. frontier began to fade, and they served as a necessary element in the grand story of America’s nation-building mythology. Certain American Indian tribes, who had close relations with Africans, especially those where slavery was prevalent, would probably never be considered in his photographic odyssey because they did not fit his or others racial stereotype so confidently assumed.



Reader Comments(0)