Edward Curtis film and discussion at Skidmore College


Tonight was the first time I ventured out into the night alone here in Saratoga Springs, New York. I wanted to attend a program at Tang Museum and Art Gallery, at Skidmore College. The bus comes by my building and so I rode to next stop, Skidmore College. I attended the Film Screening and Discussion, “Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians.”  I saw first hand the sacrifices Curtis made in order to capture the Native People of the west. He didn’t bother to photograph east coast Native People because they were now influenced by settlers. Out west, it was still pristine and primative. Curtis felt that  Native People would disappear because of white settlers and he desperately wanted to capture a noble people.

Ian Berry, Tang Museum Director, and Jill Sweet, retired professor of Anthropology, led a discussion about their experience in co-curating the 2002 Tang exhibition, “Staging the Indian: The Politics of Representation,” which featured work from Skidmore’s extensive holdings of Curtis’ work.  I had no idea that Skidmore College had this vast collection, which is currently not available for view. It is held at the library and only a handful of professionals have seen it.

There are  going to be further programs as part of Saratoga Reads!. One of the books read was The Round House, about the Ojibwe people and the topic was rape. It is a very sensitive subject because a number of tribal women are victims of violence and rape on tribal land, and yet it is not talked about in the open. There are many secrets. A young man tries to find out what happened to his mother and why doesn’t the tribe come out in the open and do something about it. He tries to find the answers himself within his culture. It is a brave thing for  Louise Erdrich  to bring this subject out into the open. She did so brilliently.full moon

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