January 22, 2002
Visiting Lecturers to Explore
Relevance of Photography, Both Historic and Contemporary, For
Native American Communities in Transition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Editor's note: Digital photographs
typical of those to be shown in the slide lecture are available.
Call (413) 585-2190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-Although photographs
of Native Americans were first popularized by Edward Curtis,
it was the pioneering work of Native American photographers such
as Horace Poolaw, a Kiowa Indian, who established the relevance
of photographs for native communities.
Poolaw's daughter, Linda, a health researcher, curator and longtime
tribal leader, will present her father's unique images-which
document both traditional ceremonies and a rapidly changing Kiowa
culture-in a slide lecture at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7,
in Seelye 201.
The presentation, titled "War Bonnets, Tin Lizzies and Patent
Leather Pumps: Native American Photography in Transition,"
is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.
Also speaking at the event will be Rayna Green, director of the
American Indian Program at the National Museum of American History,
Smithsonian Institution, who will discuss how Horace Poolaw's
images and others produced by Native photographers "challenge
conventional ways of seeing and knowing, exploring what being
native means and to whom."
The author and editor of numerous books, including "Women
in American Indian Society" and "That's What She Said:
Contemporary Fiction and Poetry By Native American Women,"
Green, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is also known for her
work in museum exhibition, performance art and media production.
She is the scriptwriter and artistic director of the award-winning
documentary film "We Are Here: 500 Years of Pueblo Resistance"
and the producer of the pioneering audio recording "Heartbeat:
The Voices of First Nations Women."
Born in Oklahoma in 1909, Horace Poolaw apprenticed himself to
a local photographer at age 17, later becoming the most prolific
Indian photographer of his generation. During the five decades
in which he photographed the Plains Indians, tribal cultures
underwent profound changes, including the arrival of white settlers
to the Plains, the division of tribal lands into farm allotments
and the disappearance of traditional religious practices. Poolaw's
photographic legacy-which Linda arranged to have printed, catalogued
and exhibited after his death in 1984-record this intersection
of cultures and transformation of family life, work and leisure
in images of engaging thoughtfulness and sensitivity. The exhibit,
titled "War Bonnets, Tin Lizzies and Patent Leather Pumps:
Kiowa Culture in Transition 1925 1955," traveled around
the country in the early 1990s and was the subject of a major
Poolaw and Green will be joined in the discussion by Nancy Marie
Mithlo, assistant professor of anthropology at Smith, whose research
and teaching interests include the anthropology of museums, ethnographic
film, the relationship between native and non-native communities,
the use of primitivism in Western culture, and the collection
of material culture from indigenous communities. A Chiricahua
Apache, Mithlo has worked with the Institute of American Indian
Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, N.M., for 17 years as a researcher and
professor of museum studies. She is currently involved in cataloguing,
digitizing and producing an oral history of the Yeffe Kimball
photography collection at the IAIA Museum.
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