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News and Events

 

PORTRAITS OF PRIDE AND DIGNITY SHARED WITH THE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY

 

OTTAWA, December 10, 1999 - The National Archives of Canada and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) are pleased to present three exhibitions: Pride and Dignity, Returning the Gaze and Portraits by Edward S. Curtis. They feature images of Aboriginal people in traditional as well as community settings, which will be exhibited at Les Terrasses de la Chaudière, in Hull, from December 16, 1999 until December 31, 2001.

The over one hundred photographs in Pride and Dignity, Returning the Gaze and Portraits by Edward S. Curtis reveal a rich visual Aboriginal history. The photos were reproduced from originals taken as early as the 1840's, which are part of the vast photographic collection in the National Archives. Although it is the more popular chief and warrior icons which hold people’s attention, these exhibitions present a balance between the stereotypical photographs and those of Aboriginal people in their everyday activities, which give a greater sense of time and place. They include photographs by Edward S. Curtis, known for his epic 20-volume photographic project The North American Indian, and others by lesser-known photographers who recorded daily life in Aboriginal communities.

Whatever their source, these photographs are important to the present day Aboriginal community. "Today Aboriginal people have entered an era of positive self-determination but often know little of their photographic history and of Aboriginal life in the era before reserves. Part of this movement involves taking control of their past, documented in records held in archival repositories. The interpretation and use of archival records by Aboriginal people initiates a process of restoration of pride in their past," says Jeffrey Thomas, guest curator of the show. Thomas, who is of Onondaga ancestry, is also well known as a photographer.

Except for holiday closings December 27-28, 1999 and January 3, 2000, Pride and Dignity, Returning the Gaze and Portraits by Edward S. Curtis may be viewed starting December 16, 1999, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the lobby of Les Terrasses de la Chaudière, located at 10 Wellington Street in Hull. You can also preview some of the images of Pride and Dignity on the National Archives Web site (http://www.collectionscanada.ca/aboriginal-portraits/index-e.html) under Exhibitions.

Components of these exhibitions will also travel to other venues across Canada and be exhibited in some of the DIAND’s regional centers, thanks to the partnership between the National Archives and the DIAND. It is one of many initiatives which the National Archives has undertaken in an effort to make its holdings more accessible and bring to Canadians more of their own stories.

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For more information please contact:

Pauline Portelance
Media Relations Officer
Telephone: (613) 996-6128
E-mail: media@lac-bac.gc.ca