The first silent feature film with an "all Indian" cast and a surviving original orchestral score, Edward Curtis's 1914 In the Land of the Head Hunters was a landmark of early cinema. Influential but often neglected in historical accounts, this spectacular melodrama was an intercultural product of Curtis's encounter and collaboration with the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia.
In recognition of the film's centennial, and alongside the release of a restored version, Return to the Land of the Head Hunters brings together leading anthropologists, Native American authorities, artists, musicians, literary scholars, and film historians to reassess the film and its legacy. The volume offers unique Kwakwaka'wakw perspectives on the film, accounts of its production and subsequent circulation, and evaluations of its depictions of cultural practice.Like his photographs, Curtis's motion picture was meant to document a supposedly vanishing race. But as this collection shows, the film is not simply an artifact of colonialist nostalgia. Resituated within film history and informed by a legacy of Kwakwaka'wakw participation and response, the movie offers dynamic evidence of ongoing cultural survival and transformation under shared conditions of modernity.
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPuS39iOsJQ&feature=c4-overview&list=UUge4MONgLFncQ1w1C_BnHcw
Brad Evans is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University. Aaron Glass is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the Bard Graduate Center.
U'mista Cultural Society Statement of Participation / William T. CranmerForeword / Bill HolmPreface / Brad Evans and Aaron GlassAcknowledgmentsIntroduction PART ONE. Mediating Indians / Complicating Curtis1. Edward Curtis and In the Land of the Head Hunters: Four Contexts / Micky Gidley2. Images of Time: Portraiture in The North American Indian / Shamoon Zamir3. Indian Landscapes: Pauline Johnson and Edward Curtis / Kate Flint4. A Chamber of Echoing Songs: Edward Curtis as a Musical Ethnographer / Ira JacknisPhoto Essay 1. "At the Kitchen Table with Edward Curtis"/ Jeff Thomas PART TWO. Head Hunters Across Two Centuries5. Consuming the Head Hunters: A Century of Film REception / Aaron Glass and Brad Evans6. Unmasking the Documentary: Notes on the Anxiety of Edward Curtis / Colin Browne7. Indian Movies and the Vernacular of Modernism / Brad Evans8. Musical Intertextuality in Indigenous Film: Making and Remaking In the Land of the Head Hunters / Klisala Harrison9. Reflections on Working with Edward Curtis / Barbara Cranmer (Tlakwagila'ogwa)Photo Essay 2. "Old Images / New Views: Indigenous Perspectives on Edward Curtis" / Dr. E. Richard Atleo, Pam Brown, Marie Clements, Karrmen Crey, Mique'l Icesis Dangeli, Andy Everson, Linc Kesler, David Neel, Evelyn Vanderhoop, and William Wasden Jr. PART THREE. Reimaging Curtis Today10. In the Land of the Head Hunters: Reconstruction, not Restoration . Jere Guldin11. In the Land of the Head Hunters and the History of Silent Film Music / David Gilbert12. Performing Braham, Interpreting Curtis: A Conversation on Conducting / Neal Stulberg, Owen Underhill, Timothy Long, and Laura Ortman13. "What the Creator Gave to Us": An Interview with William Wasden Jr. (Waxawidi)14. Cultural Interpretation / Dave Hunsaker15. The Kwakwakka'wakw Business of Showing: Tradition Meets Modernity on the Silver Screen and the World Stage / Aaron Glass Afterword. Twentieth Century Fox / Paul Chaat SmithAppendix 1. Promotional Images for In the Land of the Head HuntersAppendix 2. The Kwakwaka'wakw Cast and Crew of In the Land of the Head HuntersAppendix 3. Curtis Film Props in the Collection of the Burke Musem of Natural History and CultureAppendix 4. Title Cards from the 2008 Reconstruction of In the Land of the Head HuntersReferencesContributorsIndex