On May 14 at 3 p.m., the 400 Years Project co-founders Sheena Brings Plenty and Sarah Stacke will present The 400 Years Project: A Conversation on Photography in Indigenous Communities in the TJC Holland Education Room at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Brings Plenty and Stacke will share images from Native American photographers working in the first 100 years of photography as well as images by contemporary Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians photographers. They will also hold a conversation to learn about the photographers in attendees’ family that were making images from the 1850s to today.
“There is without question a rich history of Native photographers in family, local, regional and national archives to be uncovered and made known,” Stacke said. “The history of photography – and North America – is incomplete without the critical work and perspectives of Native American photographers.”
Members of the EBCI are invited to bring their stories, memories and photo albums to share. Photographers will be added to the 400 Years digital library and, eventually, books and exhibitions.
“It’s important to get to know each other and work together to amplify the voices and perspectives of EBCI tribal members through photography,” Brings Plenty said. “There are many EBCI photographers documenting history, and this important work will serve as a touchstone for generations to come about how their Cherokee ancestors lived.”
A photography collective looking at the evolution of Native American identity, rights, and representation, the 400 Years Project aims to contribute to a universal understanding that cameras have been in the hands of Native photographers since the invention of the medium and that Native people have incorporated photography into their lifeways since the 1800s, both as creators and patrons.
“The work we are doing at The 400 Years Project will directly contribute to the work of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the people of the Qualla Boundary,” Brings Plenty said. “This event brings the community together to discuss the past and future of the tribe through historical and contemporary photographs.”
This event is free and open to the public. Learn more about programming at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian at mci.org/programming.