Hulleah Tsinnahjinnie began her career as a painter, but changed her medium to photography, as did a number of other Native contemporary artists, whose work also appears in this gallery (Wendy Red Star, Zig Jackson, Mateo Romero) and the next (Victor Masayesva). Tsinhahjinnie’s work, like that of many Native photographic artists, comments upon both the romanticism and the often-faked memorialization of Native people offered by 19th- and 20th-century photographers like Edward Curtis.
Native relationships with photography vary from period to period and person to person. Some Indians treasured the portraits of 19th-century Indians by Curtis, thinking them true representations of a world gone by, but others, including Native academics and artists like Tsinhahjinnie, reject such photos (and paintings), which showcase a world undergoing successful attempts to dismantle the very civilizations these images depict. These artists believe that photography, in its documentary essentialism, can both mock and correct that historic assault on Native people.
It was a beautiful day when the scales fell from my eyes and I first encountered photographic sovereignty. A beautiful day when I decided that I would take responsibility to reinterpret images of Native peoples. My mind was ready, primed with stories of resistance and resilience, stories of survival. My views of these images are aboriginally based—an indigenous perspective—not a scientific godly order but philosophically Native.
—Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, "When Is a Photograph Worth a Thousand Words?," in Photography's Other Histories (2003)
From the 2019 exhibition Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, guest curated by Rayna Green
NAS 30.1, ARTH 17, Modern Native American Art History, Joyce Szabo, Summer 2013
ANTH 3, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Spring 2019
NAS 30.21, Native American Art and Material, Jami Powell, Spring 2021
A Space for Dialogue 88, Still We Rise, Women of Color Existence / Resistance in Contemporary Art, Taylor Payer, Class of 2015, Kathryn Conroy Intern, Main Lobby, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 30 -July 12, 2015.
After the Storm: The Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 8, 2003-February 1, 2004.
Image and Self in Contemporary Native American Photoart: Carm Little Turtle, Shelley Niro, Jolene Rickart, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, Richard Ray White. Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, September 9-November 26, 1995.
Native Nations: Journeys in American Photograph, Barbican Art Gallery, London, England, September 7, 1998-January 1, 1999.
New Acquisition, Alvin P. Gutman Gallley, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February-May 4, 2008.
Outwest, Plan B Evolving Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1999.
Photographic Memoirs of an Aboriginal Savant, CN Gorman Museum, University of California, Davis, California, November 13-December 23, 1994. (solo)
Photographic Memoirs of an Aboriginal Savant, Sacred Circle Gallery, Seattle, Washington, September 9-October 21, 1994.
Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-July 15, 2019.
Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, October 28, 2022-January 22, 2023.
B. Nixon, Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie at the CN Gorman Museum, The Guide, December 1994.
J. Wong, Photographic Memoirs' Displays Showcases True American Art, The California Aggie, November 16, 1994.
H. J. Tsinhnahjinnie, Photographic Memoirs of an Aboriginal Savant, CN Gorman Museum, University of California, Davis, California, 1994.
J. Alison, Native Nations: Journeys in American Photography, Barbican Art Gallery and Booth-Clibborn Editions, London, England, 1998.
C. F. Feest, The Cultures of Native North America. Cologne, Germany: Konemann, 2000.
T. Claviez and M. Moss, editors, Mirror Writing: (Re)-Construcitons of Native American Identity. Glienicke/Berlin: Galda + Wilch Verlag, 2000.
D. Harry, Genetics and Native Identity, Native Americas: Who's An Indian: Tribal Membership and Indian Status, vol. 19, no. 1 & 2, 2002.
V. Passalacqua, Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, in Path breakers: The Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, 2003. Eiteljorg Museum and University of Wahsiington Press, Indianapolis and Seattle, pp. 80-99, 2003.
H. J. Tsinhnahjinnie, Memoirs of an Aboriginal Savan, in Reading Native American Woman, Walnut Creek, California: Alta Vista Press, 2005.
Taylor Payer, A Space for Diagolgue 88, Still We Rise, Women of Color Esistence / Resistance in Contemporary Art, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2015, checklist no. 2.
Mishuana Goeman, "Historic Interstices of Indigenous Visualities and the Uprooting of Settler Terrains", in Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography,edited by John Rohrbach and Will Wilson, Santa Fe and Fort Worth: Radius Books in collaboration with the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2023, pp. 197-208, ill pp. 104-119.
Andrew Smith Gallery, Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico; sold to present collection, 2007.