About this artwork
An 1868 treaty, signed at gunpoint, allowed the Navajo back onto ancestral lands in Arizona after 20 years of raids and slaughter capped by the genocidal “Long Walk” east to captivity in New Mexico.
This richly hued picture shows labor clearly—drying ears of corn and a double loom are in brilliant focus—while the laborers appear blurred and idle. But these four Navajo men still seem stubbornly present. The one half-hidden at the back, and the one who turns his face away, may be actively resisting portrayal. Such presence and tacit resistance both run counter to romanticized images of the Navajo as actively dangerous or disappearing—images that already were fast becoming clichés.
See also: Robin Kelsey, Archive Style (2007); James C. Faris, Navajo and Photography (1996)
- Currently Off View
- Photography and Media
- Timothy O'Sullivan
- Aboriginal Life Among the Navajoe Indians, Near Old Fort Defiance, N.M.
- United States (Artist's nationality)
- Made 1873
- Albumen print, from the album "Geographical & Geological Explorations & Surveys West of the 100th Meridian," vol. 1
- Image/paper: 27.5 × 20.2 cm (10 7/8 × 8 in.); Mount: 49.9 × 39.4 cm (19 11/16 × 15 9/16 in.)
- Photography Gallery Fund