These captivating images provide insight on what life was like for Native American tribes at the turn of the 20th century.
The turn of the 20th century was a monumental time for people everywhere around the globe, but particularly Native Americans in the United States. To ensure aspects of their rich culture could never fade, photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis dedicated decades of his life to capturing and recording the peoples’ long-held traditions. To this day, many of the images he captured remain some of the most captivating photos from that era.
The achievement of documenting more than 40,000 images of 80 Native American tribes was made possible thanks to J.P. Morgan. In 1906, the wealthy financier provided Curtis with $75,000 to produce a series on Native Americans, resulting in the 20-volume series called ‘The North American Indian’.
The images that follow are captivating, but it’s essential to note that Curtis’ methods of obtaining the photographs aren’t praised by all. Some anthropologists have critiqued the fact that the photographer would pose individuals from unrelated tribes in the same clothing, removing them from natural settings. In some cases, the individuals would be featured in front of overly romantic landscapes, and so on. Though some of the photographs might not be completely accurate, they provide excellent insight of the life of early Native American tribes in the early 1900’s.