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Friday, June 11, 2010

Let's Go Fishing

You may not realize it, but June 11-13 is "Take a Kid Fishing" weekend. The NMAI Archive Center would like to honor this event by highlighting a few images from our collection which note the historic importance of fishing to Native American lifeways and traditions.

Shown at the left is a lantern slide image (L00327) of a Seminole man, possibly George Osceola (ca. 1880-1950), standing in a dugout canoe holding a speared mud-fish in the Everglades of Florida in 1910. The image is part of the Alanson B. Skinner photograph collection. As an anthropologist, Skinner was sent by the American Museum of Natural History in New York to conduct ethnographic field research on the Seminole people of the Florida Everglades. Both Skinner and professional photographer Julian A. Dimock photographed this expedition. In 1916, Skinner joined the staff of the Museum of the American Indian and most likely used this and other slides for public lectues.

This next image (P0622) taken in Sonora, Mexico in 1924 captures Chico Romero (Seri) posing outside with a large fish he caught. The image is from the Edward H. Davis photograph collection which covers large regions of the Southwest United States and Northern Mexico. Beginning in 1916 Davis worked as an official field collector for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.

Both images reflect the importance of fishing to Native peoples thoughout the Western Hemphisphere and altough they only capture a brief moment in Native American history, the images also provide a glimpse into their traditional lifeways that have continued on for numerous generations.

See also the new exhibit, Yuungnaqpiallerput (The Way We Genuinely Live): Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival, at the National Museum of Natural History (developed in conjunction with the the NMAI and the Anchorage Museum), for additional highlights of the connections between indigenous peoples and the environment. The exhibit is open now until July 25, 2010.

See additional images from the NMAI Archive Center photograph collections here.

Jennifer R. O'Neal, Head Archivist, National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center,

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