Selling the North American Indian:
The Work of Edward Curtis

Created by Valerie Daniels, June 2002

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Excerpts from Program Notes for "Lecture on the Indians of the Southwest," c. 1911

ORCHESTRAL PRELUDE, "The Spirit of the Indian Life." Foreword by Mr. Curtis.
Opening picture, characteristic of the American Indian at the height of his existence, followed by "The Vanishing Race." This is the favorite picture of the whole series, wonderfully full of sentiment, and conveying the thought of the race...going into the darkness of the unknown future.

I. THE INDIANS OF THE EARTH HOUSES. The Coahuillla, and their homes among the beautiful palms. The Pima, Papago, Mohave, Yuma, Havasupai.

II. THE APACHE. ...Jicarilla Apache of northern New Mexico.

III. THE HOPI AND THEIR SNAKE DANCE. "Hopi Land," a changing series of nine scenes...Individual pictures of Hopi life. The story of the Snake Dance...The Buffalo Dance in separate and in motion pictures.


IV. THE STONE-HOUSE OR PUEBLO PEOPLE. Descriptive pictures. Dissolving scene with musical accompaniment, "Prayer to the Mountain God"...Acoma, the most beautiful of all the pueblos. Taos, nestling in the foothills of the forested mountains. Dramatic musical composition, "By the Arrow"...

V. THE NAVAHO, and their wonderfully picturesque homeland..."A Journey Through Canyon de Chelly"...The Yebichai ceremony, a dance in motion picture, with music. "Sunset in Navaho Land"...The lecture will present the general culture and manners, with special attention to the ceremonial and religious life. Mr. Curtis has participated in the Snake ceremony as one of the priests, and has pictures even of the ceremonial capturing of snakes. He took part also in the Yebichai ceremony of the Navaho, and shows some most remarkable views even of this rite and of its participants.

Reprinted in: Gidley, Mick. Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, Incorporated. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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