University of Oregon

Not Your Romantic Indian: Indigenous Photography and the Legacy of Edward Curtis

This symposium will reflect on contemporary Native American photography and indigenous interpretations of Edward Curtis’ epic work The North American Indian, including Native artists, photographers, curators, historians and tribal community members. This event is being held In conjunction with the newly opened Native American photography exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, Contemporary Native American Photographers and the Edward Curtis Legacy. The symposium will also highlight the University of Oregon Libraries unique set of The North American Indian in Special Collections and University Archives.

The symposium will take place on Thursday, February 25, 1:00-4:30PM at the Knight Library Browsing Room. There will be two session panels with presentations and discussion. The first panel (1:15PM-2:30PM) will include Native artists, photographers, and curators who will speak about Curtis, how they’ve been influenced by his work and how they have interpreted his complex role within the historical representation of indigenous peoples. Speakers will include:

  • Pamela J. Peters, Native Photographer and Storyteller (Navajo)  
  • Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography, Portland Art Museum; Co-Curator, with Deana Dart (Coastal Band Chumash) of the Edward Curtis Legacy exhibit

The second panel (2:45-4:15PM) will be devoted to Oregon tribal community members and their unique perspectives on Curtis’ photographs. Speakers will include:

  • David Lewis, Native historian (The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde)
  • Natalie Ball, Native artist (Klamath Tribe)
  • Chuck Williams, Native photographer (Cascade Chinook)

Note: Other speakers will be added as they are confirmed.

The symposium speaker portion of the event is free and open to the public, however please RSVP here so that we can plan accordingly for the event.

The day will culminate with a viewing of selected volumes from the Edward Curtis’ The North American Indian in the Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room from 4:30-5:30PM. NOTICE: This event is already full.

In addition, the evening will conclude with a concert reading of “The Edward Curtis Project,” a play by First Nations/Metis playwright Marie Clements, at the Many Nations Longhouse at 7:30PM.

For directions to the Knight Library and the Many Nations Longhouse, please see the campus interative map.

Please direct any questions to Jennifer O'Neal, University Historian and Archivist.

The symposium is generously sponsored by:

University of Oregon Libraries
Native Studies Program
Ethnic Studies Department

English Department
History Department
Theater Department

Edward Curtis, Middle Columbia, no. 288, 1910, photogravure, from "The North American Indian"
Edward Curtis, Middle Columbia, no. 288, 1910, photogravure, from "The North American Indian"
Edward Curtis, Princess Angeline, no. 314, 1899, photogravure, from "The North American Indian"
Edward Curtis, Princess Angeline, no. 314, 1899, photogravure, from "The North American Indian"
Edward Curtis, Wishham Bride, no. 281, 1910, photogravure, from "The North American Indian"
Edward Curtis, Wishham Bride, no. 281, 1910, photogravure, from "The North American Indian"
University of Oregon Libraries
1501 Kincaid Street Eugene, OR
97403-1299
T: (541) 346-3053
F: (541) 346-3485
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