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Highlights Archives

A Visual History of Ho-Chunk Families


Studio portrait of two Ho-Chunk women sitting in front of two Ho-Chunk men and a Ho-Chunk woman posed standing, all wearing regalia
WHI 61591

A new book from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, "People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942," tells the visual history of Ho-Chunk families at the turn of the 20th century and beyond as depicted through the lens of the Black River Falls studio photographer. The family relationships among those who sat for the photographer are clearly visible in these images. Sisters, friends, families and young couples appear and reappear, fleshing out a narrative of the period, referred to as "the dark ages" in Indian tribal history.

More Than 300 Beautifully Detailed Photographs

The cover of "People of the Big Voice"

Following introductory essays from three of the authors are more than 300 beautifully detailed duotone photographs. Unique to the project are captions that identify more than 90 percent of the individuals pictured — made possible by the continuing efforts of tribal members and genealogists. A significant contribution to the history of Native peoples, 'People of the Big Voice' is a breathtaking portrayal of a resilient community whose story continues today.

A Literary Event and Exhibit Opening

As part of the 2011 Wisconsin Book Festival, the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison will host an author presentation celebrating the release of "People of the Big Voice" at 1 pm Saturday, October 22. This event also marks the opening for an exhibit of corresponding photographs at the museum. All five "People of the Big Voice" authors, Tom Jones, Michael Schmudlach, Amy Lonetree, George A Greendeer and Matthew Daniel Mason, will be on hand to discuss the book and exhibition images. This literary and photography event offers a perfect counterpoint for the Wisconsin Book Festival's 2011 theme, "Voices."

:: Posted October 17, 2011

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