Native American & Indigenous Peoples and Photography

This seminar will provide a brief introduction to the history of photography while critically analyzing how Native American and Indigenous Peoples were documented by non-Native photographers in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will explore photographs from the American Indian and Indigenous Studies collection (otherwise known as the Edward E. Ayer Collection) at the Newberry Library. We will also see how stereotypical portraits created in studios or as part of government-run assimilation programs for Native people are later turned into powerful statements of resiliency by Native photographers. We will then turn to how contemporary Native American and Indigenous photographers have contributed to the field of photography since the inception of the medium.