The North American Indians in Early Photographs

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The Crow Bull Chief, The Jicarilla people are members of the Apache nation, and originally resided in Colorado and New Mexico. The Jicarilla posed a strong resistance to European encroachment on their lands: They fought relocation in conflicts with the U. Army like the The Battle of Cieneguilla.

A young Jicarilla girl, As soon as the s, while the federal government systematically forced Native Americans onto reservations, the it also began setting up day schools near the newly formed reservations. The government intended for these schools to re-educate and "civilize" young Indian children.

By , a U. Army Lieutenant named Richard Henry Pratt had set up boarding schools dedicated to re-educating Native American tribes.

BOOK – AMERICAN INDIAN – NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS IN EARLY PHOTOGRAPHS – FLEMING/LUSKEY

School rules forbade students from speaking their native languages, and mandated that they had their hair cut, wear Western attire, and that they practice Christianity. Between and , 25 of these boarding schools were built, with about , students passing through their halls — usually brought there against their will.

Despite these techniques of assimilation, many tribes retained some elements of their former identities and continued to pass down their cultural traditions, often in secret. A Crow man named Lies Sideway, However, during the Gold Rush, the government revoked that treaty and in forced the Cheyenne onto an Oklahoma reservation.

Some Cheyenne resisted, and escaped to Montana.

Rare, Old Photos of Native American Women and Children | HuffPost

In , the federal government established a reservation for them there as well. A Cheyenne woman, Cheyenne men wearing body paint for the Sun Dance , a religious ceremony practiced by the Plains Indians — such as the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Cree tribes — in the 19th century. Tribes perform the ritual at the Summer Solstice, and it includes dancing, singing, and sometimes self-mutilation — a young man participating in the ceremony may dance around a pole to which he is attached by a rawhide thong pierced through the skin of his chest.

For this reason, and in an effort to suppress Indian culture and religion, the practice was banned in the U. Cheyenne men preparing for the Sun Dance, Pacific Northwest Indian tribes practiced the Potlatch, a traditional feast held on special occasions. In an effort to suppress Indian culture and traditions, Canada banned the Potlatch in as part of its Indian Act. The government didn't repeal the ban until A Skokomish woman named Hleastunuh, The name Pueblo comes from the adobe settlements they have lived in for more than 1, years. An Acoma man, Three Crow men participating in what Curtis terms "The Oath," The Najavo Nation is currently the second largest federally recognized indigenous tribe in America.

In , a treaty between the U.

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A Navajo man, Today, the Najavo reservation spans 14, miles between Arizona and New Mexico and their population exceeds , people. A Navajo chief, In , the U.

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An Arikara girl, Today, their reservation is located in central Idaho. The Wishram people, or Tlakluit as they were known to each other, traditionally lived along the Columbia River in Oregon. In , the government forced them to sign treaties that required them to cede most of their land. They were absorbed into Yakima Indian Nation in Washington state, where they live to this day.

A Wishham woman, In the s, cattle ranchers began to lay claim to the land in the Kittitas Valley, Washington. The growing industry dislocated Native American tribes living there.


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The Kittitas man Luqaiot in The Cayuse people of Oregon and southeastern Washington merged with their close relations, the Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes, in , after a treaty forced them to cede most of their ancestral land for the , acre Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, where they still live today. A Cayuse man, A Mandan man holding a buffalo skull in The name Sarsi was most likely given to this tribe by the Blackfoot people, with whom they had a long territory dispute. They now prefer to go by their own name, the Tsuu T'ina , and their official reservation is located in Alberta, Calgary, where the tribe originally lived before moving to the plains of the United States.

A Sarsi man named Aki-tanni, meaning Two Guns, in Edward Curtis wrote that the Asparoke, another name for the Crow people, first began treaty negotiations with the U. By , "they relinquished their claim to all lands except a reservation This area has since been reduce be cession to about 2,, acres. An unidentified Crow man, Curtis was born near Whitewater, Wisconsin in His father, a Civil War veteran and a Reverend, moved the family to Minnesota, where Edward became interested in photography and soon constructed his own camera and learned how to process the prints.

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At the age of seventeen he became an apprentice photographer in St. The family moved near Seattle, Washington, where Edward purchased a second camera and bought a half interest in a photographic studio. He married and the couple had four children.


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  • In while photographing on Mt. It was there that Curtis practiced and developed his photographic skills and project methodology that would guide his lifetime of work among the other Indian tribes.


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    • The North American Indian by Edward S Curtis – in pictures.
    • Such a massive project is almost incomprehensible in this day and age. In addition to the constant struggle for financing, Curtis required the cooperation of the weather, vehicles, mechanical equipment, skilled technicians, scholars and researchers and the Indian tribes as well. He dispatched assistants to make tribal visits months in advance. Once on site Curtis and his assistants would start work by interviewed the people and then photographing them either outside, in a structure, or inside his studio tent with an adjustable skylight.

      Employing these and other techniques over his lifetime he captured some of the most beautiful images of the Indian people ever recorded.

      Rare 50 Photos How Native Americans Lived 100 Years Ago

      Not content to deal only with the present population, and their arts and industries, he recognized that the present is a result of the past, and the past dimension must be included, as well. Guided by this concept, Curtis made 10, wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music. In addition he took over 40, images from over 80 tribes, recorded tribal mythologies and history, and described tribal population, traditional foods, dwellings, clothing, games, ceremonies, burial customs, biographical sketches and other primary source information: all from a living as well as past tradition.

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