Native Enough cover
Native Enough
The image many people hold of Native Americans today can be attributed largely to Edward Curtis, a late nineteenth-century, early twentieth-century American photographer whose work often focused on Native subjects. Oftentimes his work was staged, as Curtis believed that Natives and their cultures were being slowly eradicated. He was able to persuade his subjects to wear full regalia (regardless of whether it was from their own tribe) and to hide markers of cultural adaptation. Native Enough aims to dispel the stereotypical image of Natives so heavily influenced by Curtis. With interview excerpts included alongside the present-day portraits of Native college students, this collection allows for discussion about identity anxiety, tribal issues, moments of pride, and the change students want to effect through their education. The combination of black-and-white portraits and interview excerpts provides a poignant look at the faces of Native students, proving that stereotypes fall short in the faces of Native diversity.
Series: Makwa Enewed
Publication Date: December 1st, 2018
144 pages| 12 in x 8 in
NINA O'LEARY is a Cherokee photographer who primarily makes work about identity and anxiety.

Early Praise

“O’Leary’s portraits counter the stereotypical images of Native people that remain pervasive in American media and culture, providing a glimpse of the beautiful diversity that exists among Native students today. The students share raw statements about their identities during a critical time of identity formation revealing the complexities of their lived experiences.”
Jill Doerfler, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth, and author of Those Who Belong: Identity, Family, Blood, and Citizenship among the White Earth Anishinaabeg
“Through a generous photographic lens, Nina O’Leary shares a community, built on individuality, and presents a forward-looking picture, dispelling superficial expectations for visualizing Native identity. The project offers insight into multiple ways of being, living, and looking. While she cites precursors in photography as inspiration, it’s her fresh and thoughtful vision and responsibility to her community that demonstrates leadership for photographic storytelling to come. This is an important text for American studies and studio art contexts alike.”
Jehra Patrick, Curator and Gallery Director, Law Warschaw Gallery, Macalester College
“Nina O’Leary’s book sets out to show that there is no one right way to identify as Native in today’s world—and it does so brilliantly. Each and every one of the 109 ‘experiential portraits’ of Native college students included in the book reaches out from the page and clamors for our attention. What a stunning way to move beyond the damaging legacy of Edward Curtis’s often-staged photographs of American Indians, and what a powerful way to resist stereotypes and expectations of authenticity that continue to inflict wounds today. These portraits, these voices, of Native college students have many truths to tell about what it means to be ‘Native enough,’ and they so do with courage, honesty, and insight.”
Nancy J. Peterson, Professor of English and American Studies at Purdue University, and author of Against Amnesia: Contemporary Women Writers and the Crises of Historical Memory

$29.95 USD
ISBN: 9781938065057

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