An award-winning book from University of Oklahoma Press focuses on a century of photography of and by American Indians.
The University of Oklahoma Press is always a treasure trove. Among some of its recent notable titles is Through a Native Lens: American Indian Photography, by Nicole Dawn Strathman, which recently won the Joan Paterson Kerr Award from the Western History Association, presented annually for the best illustrated book on the history of the American West.
It wasn’t just Edward Curtis photographing Indigenous peoples, as this richly illustrated book smartly demonstrates. Strathman explores how Indigenous peoples throughout the United States and Canada have been portrayed through the lens and how they have incorporated photography into their lifeways.
Analyzing images that date to the first 100 years of the medium, between 1840 and 1940, Strathman lays out Native participation both in front of and behind the camera, with Part I focusing on Native subjects such as Sarah Winnemucca and Red Cloud, who deliberately fashioned their portraits; and Part II examining Native professional, semiprofessional, and amateur photographers who helped pioneer the art of capturing light and image.
Part of the Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, the book draws from tribal and state archives, libraries, museums, and individual collections, including some never-before-published images ranging from formal portraits to casual snapshots and depicting multiple tribal communities across Native North America, including the Inland Tlingit, Northern Paiute, and Kiowa.
Through a Native Lens: American Indian Photography is available from University of Oklahoma Press, Amazon, and local bookstores.