We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People

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In this collection of stunning and storied photographs—ranging from daguerreotypes to studio portraits to snapshots—historian Bruce White explores historical images taken of Ojibwe people through 1950: A baby in a cradleboard. A family building a birch-bark canoe. Studio portraits of girlfriends. Snapshots from a grandmother’s album. These and other familiar scenes are showcased in We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.
This rich record of Native history and culture is available through a quirk of history: white settlement of Minnesota coincided with the development of photographic processes that allowed itinerant and studio photographers to capture images of local people and scenes, including those of the Ojibwe, who had called Minnesota home for centuries. White considers the negotiation that went on between the photographers and the photographed—and what power the latter wielded.
Ultimately, this book tells more about the people in the pictures—what they were doing on a particular day, how they came to be photographed, how they made use of costumes and props—than about the photographers who documented, and in some cases doctored, views of Ojibwe life. The result is a vivid history of a people at home in Minnesota’s landscape.
Independent historian and anthropologist Bruce White researches and writes for Indian tribes and government agencies. Gerald Vizenor, an American Studies professor at the University of New Mexico, is the author of, among other books, The Everlasting Sky: Voices of the Anishinabe People (MHS Press).

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Adult/High School -From the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, photographers, most of them white, took thousands of pictures of the Ojibwe people of northern Minnesota. Anthropologist White's book reproduces hundreds of these photographs and describes the circumstances under which they were taken and the background and approach of the photographers. White people, he argues, while not ill-intentioned, photographed the Ojibwe in a way that reinforced the photographer's cultural view of Indians as exotic others, while Ojibwe photographing their own people provided a more accurate cultural context. The author provides interesting insights into Ojibwe/white relations, although an occasional bit of turgid prose suggests the book's connection to his doctoral dissertation. The major attraction for teens will be the beautifully reproduced photographs that document, however imperfectly, the lives of the Ojibwe during a century of change. A worthy addition to libraries that support Native American studies, especially those in the upper Midwest.-Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873516228
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 1,055,870
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Gerald Vizenor     ix
Introduction     3
Dikinaaganan / Cradleboards     21
Ogimaag / Leaders     33
Nindabimin / We Are at Home     67
Biboonagad / A Year Goes By     109
Bimaadiziwin / The Circle of Life     157
Anishinaabeg / The People     203
Manaaji'iwewin / Respect     219
Acknowledgments     243
Notes and References     245
Index     255
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