By Denise K. Cummings
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Extra resources for Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art
Perhaps the first extant experimental films by Native American artists were those created by anthropologists John Adair and Sol Worth and their Navajo students in 1966. Adair and Worth later published an analysis of the project as Through Navajo Eyes: An Exploration in Film Communication and Anthropology (1972). ”16 The films, according to Beverly Singer, “were intended to serve as an anthropological case study and not as films to be publicly distributed,” and did feature a Navajo aesthetics of long shots of the landscape, few close-ups of individuals, | 10 Michelle H.
Raheja reservations, it also provides a creative, imagined space with critical ties to physical places that have protected what might be called “traditional” practices and permitted the maintenance of some indigenous languages and knowledges, such as prophecy. ”12 The virtual reservation can be considered to occupy these three modes: the realm of the filmic as a field onto which an alternative vision of the world can be projected; as a meeting space for tribal intellectuals and scholars to workshop, debate, and define new projects for sustaining indigenous knowledges; and as a network of computer-assisted transnational indigenous communities who exchange and create information.
41 The emotional effect of the intertitles is heightened by the appearance of a woman wearing traditional Haudenosaunee clothing who is revealed in obscured, brief shots of parts of her body—her feet, her head and torso from afar, her face in profile and the sound of rustling through the forest. The appearance of this woman, viewed only in fragments, following the story of the Tutelo, visually suggests the ghostly metaphors of the Vanishing Indian. Is it Shanna, the main protagonist, a person, or the ghost of a Tutelo woman from long ago?