Explanation of Tags used in the Archive
There are some inherent difficulties in tagging these photographs to reflect certain themes and concepts, namely that succinct tags do not adequately reflect my intentions. To wit, I am including an explanation of my tags and the rationale behind them.
Agriculture I have only tagged the photographs with clear signs of agriculture under this tag, but it is often what you do not see in these photographs that produce the evidence to support an argument. The absence of agriculture is noteworthy, yet there are limitations to that conclusion as well that are addressed in the Conclusion of this project.
Landownership There are two tags on the photographs that describe landownership: landownership - private and landownership - tribal. Because ownership cannot be proven through photographs, I chose to describe them in terms of what the images reveal about how the land is being used. Landownership - private, for example, would include indicators such as fences that delineate property lines; groomed lawns demonstrating care for the property and a delineation of boundaries; buildings constructed with the implication of permanence; and roads indicating well-traveled paths to specific areas, such as mission schools and churches. Within the context of the goals of Civilization, it has already been established that the idea of private landownership was an imposition of Euro-American values on cultures with no working understanding of private landownership – individual use, perhaps, but land title? No. I created supplementary tags that can help filter these photographs by specific feature, such as edifice, fence, and road.
Landownership - tribal indicates images in which the land in question has clearly not been divided for private use, perhaps as land used communally for celebration or ceremony. These photographs would be devoid of any markers used to distinguish private property. As one of the main tenets of Civilization and crucial to the Allotment Act, it is important to note the years in which the use of land communally persisted despite the passage of Allotment. The terminology use in this descriptor is problematic because it implies an acceptance of the Euro-American concept of landownership. I chose to link the two words tribal and landownership because they create a binary for comparison with the idea of private landownership as promoted by Allotment.
Education Again, there are inherent assumptions imbedded in this tag, mainly that there is no room for education outside the Euro-American definition of education. Since this study focuses on the impact of Euro-American ideals and concepts of Civilization through the Allotment Act, I chose to focus only on those signs of boarding and day schools, many of which were run by missionaries. Because there a lot of cross-over between education and Christianity exist, many of the photographs are associated with both tags. I created supplementary tags that can help filter these photographs more specifically, such as school, uniform, and student.
Religion In much the same way that tribal land use is described in terms of landownership, I had to create a binary with which to compare Christianity and the continuation of tribal ceremonies. For this reason, there are two tags to use to filter religion: religion – Christianity and religion – traditional. The former is nearly self-explanatory. In any photograph when I am certain there is a Christian influence, I have tagged it as such. This includes photographs of church, priests, nuns, missions, and many school photographs as well. Christianity was a state sanctioned aspect of Civilization and must be analyzed on its own terms. I created supplementary tags that can help filter these photographs by specific aspects of Christianity, such as church, nun, and priest.
Separate from defining religion as Christian is the recognition of ceremony and spirituality long before the arrival of Europeans. I have used the tag religion – traditional to denote the photographs which clearly demonstrate the continuation of traditions and customs that preceded colonization. I am not arguing that Native cultures are static; rather, that without creating culturally specific tags for each individual ceremony, I cannot possible do justice to these traditions. Furthermore, to demonstrate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of Civilization policy, there must be polarity – in other words, I do not use this tag to imply some sort of hierarchy of organized religion over another. That being said, where known, I have included the ceremony under separate tags such as sun dance and sweat lodge. Furthermore, the majority of traditional ceremonies at the time would have occurred without the knowledge or consent of the Indian agents, and well away from the lens of an exploitative camera. . I created supplementary tags that can help filter these photographs by specific ceremonies where known, such as sun dance and sweat lodge.
Allotment The eras of allotment are defined in three phases: era - pre-allotment, era - allotment, and era - post-allotment. Because Allotment did not affect Montana reservations simultaneously, the dates of allotment correspond with each individual reservation’s allotment dates. Rocky Boy’s Reservation never experienced allotment, and therefore only falls within two of those categories: pre- and post-allotment. After 1934, all reservations are categorized as era - post-allotment as a result of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and the official end to the Allotment Act. These can be helpful filters for understanding change over time.
Reservations All the photographs are tagged with their corresponding reservation. I do not include a search by tribe, but rather by reservation since the majority of the reservations in Montana are shared by multiple tribes. To find out what tribes are located on individual reservations, use the Reservations Map.
Clothing Again, to create a binary, clothes have been labeled as either clothing - European or clothing - traditional. I felt there were enough distinct cases of both to warrant the comparison, but it should be noted that there was borrowing between cultures on both the Euro-American and Indian side.
Other Tags I included other tags to help filter these photographs by feature that may be of interest to some including automobile, community, family, flag, non-Indian, and tipi.
The Archive The photo archive is searchable based on the four themes of Civilization as well as the features of each photograph that indicate the associated theme(s).
This archive was created by using MIT's SIMILE Tool Exhibit.