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Film and Archaeology in the Indigenous and Industrial American West

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalVisual Anthropology
Journal number3
Volume24
Number of pages20
Pages246-265
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Phenomenological and postcolonial archaeologies of film bracket the artifactual images and historical narratives in two films depicting hydraulic industrialization in the 20th-century Native American West of the United States. The documentary Echoes of Yesterday [Ball and Gibby 1939, 1979] consists of industrial and archaeological footage shot in 1939 and remixed in 1979 which depicts the building of the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State, the relocating of indigenous villages there, and disinterring of Native American dead. The independent magical realism film Northfork [Polish 2003] is based on the building of the Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River in Montana and the subsequent relocation of people and graves in that area. Both films animate the historic Modern period (1934–1975) and present the cultural losses, nostalgia and redemption attendant in a transition to a Supermodern period (1975–present).