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1905 - Vanishing Tribes


Title: 1905 - Vanishing Tribes 


About: Native Americans were the great casualty of the USA's grand westward advance. As settlers tamed the seemingly boundless stretches of the young nation, they evicted Indians from their ancestral lands, shoving them into impoverished reservations and forcing them to assimilate.  Just like the tribes themselves, Native Americans histories, legends, songs and language began to fade from the cultural landscape.

A popular motif of the time was the inevitable march of civilization and taming of the 'Wild West', but progress had turned the tribes into outcasts in their own land. Now Americans could look upon their native peoples with sentimental regret. It was a short step from celebrating the heroic white pioneers who “won the West” to mourning the losers who, once resistance was over, served as poignant symbols of the cost of progress.


Artists and writers began to reflect on the fate of the imminent disappearance of America’s first inhabitants. One photographer Edward Curtis sought to document the assorted tribes, to show them as a noble people — “the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners.” Spending 20 years criss-crossing North America, he created thousands of striking images of more than 80 tribes, as well as recording oral histories, legends and biographies. No single image embodied the project better than The Vanishing Race, depicting Navajo riding off into the dusty distance. To Curtis the photo epitomized the plight of the Indians, who were “passing into the darkness of an unknown future.”

Decade: 1900s

Year: 1905

Region: North America

Country: USA

Society: Culture
Society: Migration
Society: Race Relations

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 4

Artist: Ianika Moreno 


Group: Genesis

Number: 05/100

Price: 0.4 ETH


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