Edward S. Curtis, The Ford – Apache, 1903. Photogravure on tissue. Gift of Stephen Bunyard in honor of Megan D. Swider, 2005.

In the Land of the War Canoes

July 8, 2010
6 pm
Steinberg Auditorium


A film by Edward S. Curtis, 1914. Originally titled In the Land of the Head Hunters.
47 min.

Edward Curtis, famed as the author of a monumental project to document and photograph Native American life in his 30-volume publication The North American Indian (1907-1930), made this film about the Kwakiutl people of British Columbia in 1914. Curtis blended fact and fiction, using an indigenous cast to tell the story of a chief's son who must best a medicine man to win the hand of his beloved. Curtis's combination of staged Hollywood narrative with documentary authenticity echoes the complex and contradictory objectives that guided his photographic practice.

There will be a brief introduction by Karen K. Butler, assistant curator, and Nadia Ghasedi, cataloging and preservation archivist in the Washington University Film & Media Archive.

This film is being presented in conjunction with the Focus on Photography exhibition, on view at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum from May 7-July 26, 2010, which includes several of Curtis's prints from The North American Indian.