March 2010 Archives

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http://www.masshist.org/photographs/nativeamericans/

What are photographs of Native Americans from the central and western parts of the United States doing in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society? The portraits in this web presentation were collected by four Bostonians during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Charles W. Jenks and Francis Parkman collected carte de visite and tintype portraits of American Indians during the 1860s as historical records of tribal groups and their role in contemporary American politics. After a visit to southern California, Boston collector Kingsmill Marrs brought home platinotypes of southwestern Indians taken by Adam Clark Vroman in the late 1890s. An anonymous donor was inspired to collect Joseph Kossuth Dixon's photogravures from the Wanamaker Indian expeditions of the early 1900s after hearing Dixon lecture in 1912.

Early portrait photographs of Native Americans, similar to those presented in this web exhibition, reflect a widespread public interest in Indian life during the 1860s. In the mid-nineteenth century, the popular carte de visite photograph introduced the faces of prominent public figures into homes across America. Easily mass-produced, uniformly sized, and cheaper to purchase than early cased photographs, these portraits were collected, in part, as a record of current political and social events and of the people who drove them. Patented by French photographer André Disdéri in 1854, cartes de visite were introduced to the United States in 1859. The craze for these photographic "calling cards" took off in the 1860s, leading Oliver Wendell Holmes to write in 1863 that "card portraits ... have become the social currency, the 'greenbacks of civilization.'"

These striking images of Native Americans depict the changing ways in which photographers portrayed native subjects during the latter half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. From 1860, when the first portrait in this collection was taken, to 1913, the nation experienced unprecedented growth and American settlers claimed lands previously held by Indian tribes. These images are attempts by photographers to document what they saw as the fading of Native American cultures and traditions, to illustrate periods of conflict between the U.S. government and the tribes, and, by the twentieth century, to evoke political sympathy for the cause of the "vanishing race."

Funding from the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation supported this project.

American Indian Cultural House Film Series

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AICH film series web poster.png

The American Indian Cultural House will be hosting a film series March 24 and April 21. The purpose of the series is to raise public awareness and celebrate the works of American Indian and First Nation films and videos that break and/or challenge racial stereotypes.

The development of this series is intended to provide leadership opportunities to students who participate in the American Indian Cultural House. Students learn what goes into organizing community events and build collaborations with departments and other student organizations.

The first film in the series is Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew. Directed by Drew Hayden Tayler. This documentary looks at the complex issues of Native identity, politics and racism through the eyes of comedic performers. This will be shown on March 24 at 7:00pm.

The second film is Qallunaat: Why White People are Funny. What's so funny about white people, otherwise known as Qallunaat to the Inuit? Well, among other curious behaviors, Qallunaat ritualistically greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain a lot about being cold, and seem to want to dominate the world. This will be shown on April 21 at 7:00pm.

Both films are at the Bell Auditorium and are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information see http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mcae/aich/film/

American Indian Cultural House Film Series

| No Comments

AICH film series web poster.png

The American Indian Cultural House will be hosting a film series March 24 and April 21. The purpose of the series is to raise public awareness and celebrate the works of American Indian and First Nation films and videos that break and/or challenge racial stereotypes.

The development of this series is intended to provide leadership opportunities to students who participate in the American Indian Cultural House. Students learn what goes into organizing community events and build collaborations with departments and other student organizations.

The first film in the series is Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew. Directed by Drew Hayden Tayler. This documentary looks at the complex issues of Native identity, politics and racism through the eyes of comedic performers. This will be shown on March 24 at 7:00pm.

The second film is Qallunaat: Why White People are Funny. What's so funny about white people, otherwise known as Qallunaat to the Inuit? Well, among other curious behaviors, Qallunaat ritualistically greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain a lot about being cold, and seem to want to dominate the world. This will be shown on April 21 at 7:00pm.

Both films are at the Bell Auditorium and are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information see http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mcae/aich/film/

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