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There Is Hope

  • Date Submitted: 10/14/2012 01:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.4 
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There is hope!

Thesis: Sternfeld’s photo of Mount Rushmore is a glaring statement on the government’s reprehensible treatment of Native Americans.

            The Black Hills of South Dakota where the Mount Rushmore monument stands is an area that is historically linked to several Native American tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa, but most prominently the Lakota Sioux. The area was considered to be sacred before the erection of the monument; the area had been used by the Indians for obtaining spiritual power and making contact with the spirit world. It was here that many Indians conducted ceremonies such as the vision quest, and the Sun Dance. Indian’s sacred places were often not places constructed by humans, but places which were naturally sacred, whereas Europeans tended to build the places they considered to be sacred such as churches, statues, and memorials. The Indians typically considered the landscape around them to be pristine in its natural form, they did not see the need to change it, nor did they see a need hold it unto themselves but saw that they should share it with all living things. The living things within this landscape included the plants and animals, as well as the rivers, the rocks, the mountains, and the hills. Oftentimes the Indians used these sacred lands as portals to make contact with the spirit world. (nativeamericannetroots.net) |
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Joel Sternfeld is an award-winning photographer from New York who uses photographs to convey the meaning of modern American identity. His image of Mt. Rushmore is from a collection that first appeared in On This Site: Landscape in memoriam (1996), for which Sternfeld photographed fifty seemingly ordinary sites, each the scene of a tragic event. His explanation is as follows: “The landscape contains meaning, contains clues… The place itself becomes very important in so many of these tragic events… Having that one bit of certainty allows you to have your emotions in a way...

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