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The North American Indian by Edward S Curtis

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 9 months ago

The North American Indian


by Edward S Curtis



Nature's mirror - Navaho


Stoically observing the Americanization of their land, the Native American culture has grown ever so strongly. This is certainly not representative in their numbers, but rather their proud tradition and heritage. The name Native American is a more accurate term for the assimilated urban dwellers. Most Americans of native decent will consider themselves members of tribal groups versus ethnic groups. According to John Price (1981), “Specific tribal identities are almost universally stronger and important than identity as a Native American.”


A Jicarilla

Calico Ogalala


For a people whom once occupied these lands from sea to shining sea, they have finally been awarded an increase in population. This increase of some twenty-six percent between the years 1990 and 2000 has raised the population total to 2.5 million Americans claiming native descent. Amongst this total, there are 1.2 million living outside their tribal lands; furthering them from traditional tribal cultures and hindering them from their traditional tribal values. Although many of these urbanites may still frequent their homelands, they still are unable to live completely in the traditional way.



The Sioux


It is almost impossible to know for sure the total number of people that occupied this America in 1492 with estimates ranging from 8.4 million to upwards of 112.5 million. However, a geographer by the name of William Denevan used these various estimates in 1976, to obtain a consensus count of about 54 million people. As with all estimations, there will always be a discrepancy one way or another. Some recent estimates are lower, while Historian David Henige believes there is not enough “hard” data to really know.


Geronimo – Apache Zahadolzha – Navaho


These beautiful pictures were taken by Edward Sheriff Curtis and digitally archived within Northwestern University’s Digital Library Collections. He had published “The North American Indian” between 1907 and 1930. In these twenty-three years, Curtis’ intent to record traditional Indian cultures was captured and recorded in twenty volumes. Each of the twenty volumes of narrative text included portfolios of large photogravure plates, for which we have the pleasure of enjoying today.

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