Images of Native Americans
August 18, 2003 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Images of Native Americans, from UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library, is comprehensive online exhibit of over 400 years of text and images of Native American history. [via a Berkleyan article that has sample images and more info]
posted by kirkaracha (8 comments total)
This is way cool. I grew up near the Mescalero Apache reservation, and let me tell you, I have never encountered a more fascinating way of life, one that's personally quite attractive. Native American cultures have a lot to offer every other culture in this melting pot of ours, but too often we don't seem to want to listen.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:10 PM on August 18, 2003

Yep, this is good. Thanks kirkaracha.
posted by plep at 12:14 PM on August 18, 2003

Native American cultures have a lot to offer every other culture in this melting pot of ours, but too often we don't seem to want to listen.

Not the least of which was an early example of a successful "melting pot." Working with Indian organizations has taught me how quickly, comprehensively, and purposefully pan-Indianism came to be the idiom through which distinct Native cultures amplified their individual voices.

Now, the (trans)national framework that this process created has amazing resources to work with (every Native-run casino I've ever heard of has a granting/outreach foundation), and the results are awesome: leaps in quality of life and education indicators in Indian Country, as well as innovative social service practices like extended placement care, cultural competence, and intra-tribal adoption that are now being adopted by mainstream, non-Inidan agencies as well.

In a (very ironic) sense, the way that Indians came together in the aftermath of genocide provided a model for how multi-ethnic American identity at large would emerge.

Now that was perfectly off-topic.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:49 PM on August 18, 2003

I was interested to see this image particularly. That's Tecumseh's brother, Tenskwatawa, or, "The Prophet." It stood out because it's not the portrait I'm used to seeing of him. There are a few different takes on him, and I'm wondering how many of the notable faces I know from that era are portraits of portraits, or artist's interpretations of written & verbal accounts.
posted by putzface_dickman at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2003

While what you say is true and laudable, IJR, there's still a lot of fierce animosity amongst the modern Indian cultures. Many Mescaleros call the resident Navajos "Navawhores" for example.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:15 PM on August 18, 2003

Totally, WolfDaddy. I'm sure my perspective is skewed. I currently work for an organization that is very vested in pan-Indianism, and such conflicts pop up here from time to time, but if you were to throw a stupid white guy in a suit into a Mescalero/Navajo dustup, it might produce an instant unity. I kind of meant to say above that this orgnizational and political unity is even more cool when given the cultural distinctions that still remain and are fostered.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:21 PM on August 18, 2003

There's a big scary copyright notice at the base of every page of the site which strikes me as really odd. These are 200-300+ year old paintings, being digitized by a public university and hosted on a library site. It seems like these should be in the public domain.

What basis do they have to assert copyright on a scan of a public domain painting?
posted by mathowie at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2003

Not to derail the thread, but mathowie, maybe they mean presentation and text accompanying the images is protected, not the images themselves. Or maybe it's just sloppy inclusion of a standard footer on all documents on the server.

Anyway, nice link.
posted by mccreath at 7:06 PM on August 18, 2003

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