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Daniel Francis

Daniel Francis is a Canadian historian and journalist.

Copying People
Daniel Francis
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Before the west was widely settled, photographs provided the first glimpse white society had of the aboriginal people who occupied the hinterlands of the continent. Copying People - a phrase borrowed from the Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands that means "camera" - is a collection of historical photographs chosen from the vast number of images in museums and archives across North America. Taken by professional photographers, surveyors, anthropologists, civil servants, and tourists, these fascinating images show how early non-Native photographers "pictured" First Nations people and influenced the outside world's perceptions of them.

Many of these photographs attempt to document the "traditional" Indian, with their subjects dressed up in wigs, costumes, and other props provided by the photographer. In an effort to record for posterity what they viewed as a doomed race, the photographers helped construct the "idea" of the Indian in the collective mind of white society. Other photographers used images of Native people for commercial purposes, or pictured their subjects in suits and dresses, hoping to appeal to an audience eager for evidence that Natives were becoming "civilized."

Depicting Native societies under a great deal of stress at a time of tremendous change in their way of life and their environment, the photographs also reveal societies struggling to preserve their cultures and successfully adapting to new economic opportunities. And despite what we might think of their motives, many photographers produced images of remarkable power and enduring beauty.

Covering all of British Columbia, the book represents the work of every important photographer dealing with aboriginal people in the province before World war II. With 140 archival images, Copying People offers a privileged glimpse of British Columbia's original inhabitants.

Authentic Canadian Content

The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture
Daniel Francis
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

The Imaginary Indian is a fascinating, revealing history of the "Indian" image mythologized by popular Canadian culture since 1850, propagating stereotypes that exist to this day.

Images of the Indian have always been fundamental to Canadian culture. From the paintings and photographs of the nineteenth century to the Mounted Police sagas and the spectacle of Buffalo Bill''s Wild West Show; from the performances of Pauline Johnson, Grey Owl, and Buffalo Long Lance to the media images of Oka and Elijah Harper, the Imaginary Indian is ever with us, oscillating throughout our history from friend to foe, from Noble Savage to bloodthirsty warrior, from debased alchoholic to wise elder, from monosyllabic "squaw" to eloquent princess, from enemy of progress to protector of the environment.

The Imaginary Indian has been, and continues to be as Daniel Francis reveals in this book just about anything the non-Native culture has wanted it to be; and the contradictory stories non-Natives tell about Imaginary Indians are really stories about themselves and the uncertainties that make up their cultural heritage. This is not a book about Native people; it is the story of the images projected upon Native people and the desperate uses to which they are put.

The Imaginary Indian is an essential title for aboriginal studies in Canada.

Authentic Canadian Content


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