Edward S. Curtis was a renowned American ethnologist and photographer of the American West and Native American people. During his lifetime, he took an astonishing amount of pictures of the wild American landscape, retaining a record that would give future generations a glimpse into a remarkable period of the country’s history.
Starting in 1906, Curtis spent over two decades traveling across North America, tracing the footsteps of over 80 Native American tribes, in an attempt to document the indigenous people.
His series of amazing photographs, ultimately titled The North American Indian, exists today as priceless works of art, and as one of the most breathtaking visual collections in the country.
Below, we share a few of the photographs from Curtis’ collection that, although captured in black-and-white, really transports us back to that time, and back to that beautiful wild landscape, just like these unbelievable Great Depression–era photos did.
Man of the Crow tribe on horseback, in 1908.
Hupa is the spear fisherman would watch for salmon, in 1923.
This is an Apsaroke shaman, in 1908.
A mother and child of the Crow tribe, in 1908.
A Kutenai duck hunter, in 1910.
Here you can see a group of men of the Navajo tribe in the Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, in 1904.
Medicine Crow, of the Apsaroke tribe, in 1908.
Two Piegan girls gather the goldenrod plant, in 1910.
The Piegan chiefs, have elaborate head dresses in 1900.
Sioux chiefs, in 1905 and their horses were one of their most valuable possessions.
Hidatsa man with an eagle, which was used for many things in 1908.
Hollow Horn Bear, a Brulé man, in 1907.
A girl of the Jicarrilla Apache people, in 1910. At this young age and even girls were taught to hunt and to respect animals.
A girl of the Wishran tribe, in 1910.
This is a girl of the Wishran tribe, in 1910.
The dancers of the Qagyuhl tribe, in 1914 would be in full dress.
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