Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2000

Photo exhibit documents Native American culture

November 30, 2000

The black and white photographs on the walls of the Basehor Community Library tell a story of a culture foreign to many Kansans.

The Native Americans featured in the photographs are themselves Kansas residents, yet their lifestyles and customs set them apart from many of their neighbors.

The traveling exhibit, "A Photographic Narrative: The Indians of Kansas," documents the Native American culture of today.

The photographs, each accompanied by a brief narrative, give visitors a glimpse into the lives of the subjects.

Photographed by Ken Engquist, the subjects each chose where their portrait would be made, what clothes they would wear and how they would present themselves to the camera.

The accompanying narratives tell their individual stories, often in their own words. A mother and her children chose to sit outside their home. A young military man chose to wear his uniform and pose in front of an American flag. Individually, the photographs tell stories very different from one another. Taken as a group, however, they tell a story of a culture that has adapted but persevered over the years.

According to a sign posted with the photographs, the purpose of the documentary was to "sweep away the misconceptions, biases and ignorance that sometimes obscure our understanding of one another."

The photographs were made over the last decade. At least one of the subjects has since died.

The exhibit, provided by the Kansas Interpretive Traveling Exhibit Service, will be on display at the library through Dec. 9.

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