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People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942
     

People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942

by Tom Jones, Michael Schmudlach, Matthew Daniel Mason, Amy Lonetree, George A. Greendeer
 

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People of the Big Voice tells the visual history of Ho-Chunk families at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond as depicted through the lens of Black River Falls, Wisconsin studio photographer, Charles Van Schaick. The family relationships between those who “sat for the photographer” are clearly visible in these images—sisters, friends

Overview

People of the Big Voice tells the visual history of Ho-Chunk families at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond as depicted through the lens of Black River Falls, Wisconsin studio photographer, Charles Van Schaick. The family relationships between those who “sat for the photographer” are clearly visible in these images—sisters, friends, families, young couples—who appear and reappear to fill in a chronicle spanning from 1879 to 1942. Also included are candid shots of Ho-Chunk on the streets of Black River Falls, outside family dwellings, and at powwows. As author and Ho-Chunk tribal member Amy Lonetree writes, “A significant number of the images were taken just a few short years after the darkest, most devastating period for the Ho-Chunk. Invasion, diseases, warfare, forced assimilation, loss of land, and repeated forced removals from our beloved homelands left the Ho-Chunk people in a fight for their culture and their lives.”

The book includes three introductory essays (a biographical essay by Matthew Daniel Mason, a critical essay by Amy Lonetree, and a reflection by Tom Jones) and 300-plus duotone photographs and captions in gallery style. Unique to the project are the identifications in the captions, which were researched over many years with the help of tribal members and genealogists, and include both English and Ho-Chunk names.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This amazing collection of photographs documents a remarkable American Indian tribe, the storied Ho-Chunk people. It etches into our mind’s eye haunting images of a hard-pressed Nation emerging from small pox, dispossession, and removal. This stirring visual legacy allows us to gaze into the eyes of a proud and handsome people who overcame these tragic hardships and successfully return to their beloved homeland. We are all enriched by this remarkable feat! It bespeaks the strength, beauty, and unconquerable spirit of our diverse American peoples, now joined together on the same land." (Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), author of In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided)

"People of the Big Voice should be in the hands of everyone who cares about the history of Indian people. Non-Indian photographer Charles Van Schaick did not intrude into the lives of his subjects, nor did he force his expectations and assumptions upon them. Instead, the Ho-Chunk people chose to have Van Schaick record their images. The photographs in this book thus offer a distinctive opportunity to encounter Indian people on their own terms." (Patricia Nelson Limerick, author of The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West)

"People of the Big Voice is a treasure trove connecting the past with the present—restoring Ho-Chunk memories and relatives back to life. This historical time-out touches the past, celebrates the present, and preserves family stories. These stunning photos and pointed narratives re-stimulate memories that money cannot buy."  (Norbert Hill (Oneida), author of Words of Power: Voices from Indian America)

"As a Ho-Chunk enrolled in the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and a scholar, I feel very happy that our ancestors are honored and remembered in such beautiful photographs. A deeply touching and academically significant book, People of the Big Voice is a must-read for all!" (Renya Ramirez (Ho-Chunk/Winnebago), associate professor of American studies, UC Santa Cruz)

"People of the Big Voice marks the emergence of critical scholarship on Ho-Chunk history and self-representation by Ho-Chunk scholars, with essays that combine analytical insights and personal reflections on Van Shaick’s photographs. A vital contribution to the understanding of Ho-Chunk history, People of the Big Voice is a moving tribute to the individuals depicted in Van Schaick’s photographs, and a testament to the strength and survival of the Ho-Chunk Nation." (Grant Arndt, assistant professor of anthropology and American Indian studies, Iowa State University)

"This well designed and well written book opens a doorway into another time, place and culture, but it's the hundreds of faces that look out at us from its pages that speak to us with a big voice." (Reggie McLeod, Big River Magazine)

"This volume presents 330 duotone photographs taken over six decades. . . . Although taken in a studio with backdrops and props, the photographs are rich with cultural information, particularly as they depict clothing and material culture of the period. While Van Schaick was a commercial photographer, and the Ho-Chunk paying customers, the images are captivating, respectful, and dignified. (Library Journal)
 

2012 Winner of the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History
2012 Bronze in the Multicultural Non-Fiction Category from Independent Publisher Book Awards
2012 Winner in the Best Overall Design Category from Next Generation Indie Book Awards
2012 Winner in the Multicultural Non-Fiction Category from Next Generation Indie Book Awards
2011 Winner in the Midwest Regional Interest-Illustration Category from Midwest Independent Publishers Association
2011 Winner in the Total Book Design Category from Midwest Independent Publishers Association
2011 Winner
in the Photography: People Category from USA National Best Book Awards

Library Journal
Through the prescient stewardship of small-town librarian Frances R. Perry, a neglected collection of glass-plate negatives from the Black River Falls portrait studio of Charles Van Schaick was preserved and now resides safely at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The collection is an eloquent portrait of the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe of Wisconsin, which is considered their settled homeland after decades of forced migrations in the 19th century. This volume presents 330 (of the 5000-plus images in the collection) duotone photographs taken over six decades. Three essays by Jones (photography, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison) and other scholars introduce the images and provide historical context. The meticulous documentation process included eliciting identifications from the tribal elders. Each photograph is captioned with the English and Ho-Chunk name of the subjects along with notes on special dress. Although taken in a studio with backdrops and props, the photographs are rich with cultural information, particularly as they depict clothing and material culture of the period. VERDICT While Van Schaick was a commercial photographer, and the Ho-Chunk paying customers, the images are captivating, respectful, and dignified.—Nancy B. Turner, Syracuse Univ. Lib., NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870204760
Publisher:
Wisconsin Historical Society
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
588,759
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Tom Jones is an assistant professor of photography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work may be found in the National Museum of the American Indian and the Chazen Museum of Art. Michael Schmudlach serves on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Board of Curators and has a lifelong relationship with the Ho-Chunk. Matthew Daniel Mason is an archivist at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Amy Lonetree an associate professor of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and coeditor of The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations. George A. Greendeer has been the Ho-Chunk Nation’s tribal genealogist since 2000. Tom Jones, Amy Lonetree, and George A. Greendeer are enrolled members of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

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