Native American Photography and the Smithsonian.
The Shindler Catalogue.
Photographs by A. Zeno Shindler. Text by Paula Richardson Fleming.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Herndon, 2003. 408 pp., 325 black-and-white illustrations, 8½x11".
These hauntingly beautiful Native American portraits reflect the tragic history of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Pawnee, Cherokee, and other tribes whose leaders traveled to Washington in the mid-nineteenth century to negotiate treaties with the U.S. government. As compelling as the famous photographs of Edward S. Curtis, these unique images provide a close-up, unromanticized record of Native American life at the beginning of the great westward expansion of U.S. territory. The photographs form the core not only of the Smithsonian's extensive collection of Native American photographs but of many collections in museums around the world.
Paula Fleming recounts the intriguing history of this collection, which was the Smithsonian's—and perhaps the country's—first photographic exhibit. A succinct biography of A. Zeno Shindler, the photographer, is followed by a thoughtful examination of the key events surrounding the Indian delegations in Washington. The 325 halftones are accompanied by the correct identifications of the images, providing for the first time a comprehensive picture of a poignant moment in history.
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