In 1969, Wendy Ewald traveled to northeastern Canada to invite Innu adolescents to photograph their community. An indigenous people who had traditionally followed and hunted caribou, in recent years the government had forced the Innu to settle on a reserve.
"This is something that has happened to other native North American communities, but this is really quick," says Cambridge's Eric Gottesman, 36, whom Ewald, now 61 and living in Red Hook, New York, invited to return with her to lead Innu youth to again (now digitally) document their community beginning in 2007. "The culture is still there within the older generation, with people who grew up in the country and lived that nomadic lifestyle."
"Pekupatikut Innuat Akunikana/Pictures Woke the People Up" at the Addison Gallery collects Innu snapshots from Ewald's trips — often augmented by drawings — as well an Innu photographic archive they have begun to assemble for the native community.
Forced settlement fractured the Innu, sparking alcoholism, domestic violence, and suicide. "A sort of collective depression had set in," Gottesman says. The photo project was a way, Ewald says, for the community to do something positive and "an opportunity for them to talk about where do we go from here."
"PEKUPATIKUT INNUAT AKUNIKANA/PICTURES WOKE THE PEOPLE UP" :: Addison Gallery, 180 Main St, Andover :: Through January 13.
: Museum And Gallery
, Photography, Wendy Ewald, art features