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Opinion >  Letters

Curtis’ journey

Some say that cultural ignorance or deliberate cultural ignorance is a lot like a homeless man looking in the window of a restaurant of people having a great time and enjoying a great meal and he doesn’t feel left out.

Edward S. Curtis, on his photo journey (“MAC exhibit explores photographer’s work,” June 10, 2018), was looking in, and perhaps didn’t feel a connection or part of what was going on inside the images of Indian people that he was creating for his thick album: the depth of character, the richness of understood tradition, handed down since before the dawn of time, the bountifulness of their ancient heritage, customs and culture.

Curtis may have understood some of this, however, he seemed more concerned about the recent U.S. government’s policy of containment, removal, “civilize the Indian” or eventual planned genocide. This to me, fueled his brown image journey of 30 years.

Kiowa novelist and poet N. Scott Momaday described the full Curtis opus, “Taken as a whole, the work of Edward S. Curtis is a singular achievement. Never before have we seen the Indians of North America, so close to the origins of their humanity. … Curtis’ photographs comprehend indispensable images of every human being, at every time, in every place.”

James Perkins


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