What Was Taken... And What We Sell

Nora Naranjo-Morse

1994, 11:00 minutes, Colour& B&W, English


Nora Naranjo-Morse describes a childhood experience at the Jack Denver Curio Store and Motel in Taos, "Halfway through the evening, young Indian girls dressed in, what was then called 'Squaw skirts' and other Southwestern style clothing, paraded through the arena in what became a ten minute commercial for a local seamstress who fashioned her garments for this particular occasion. I was one of the young Indian girls and as an impressionable child, this stands out as one of the most significant memories of my youth. Although at this tender age, I could not begin to identify or even process these tumultuous emotions, I understood, somewhere in my child's intuitive intelligence, the meaning of being a 'Professional Indian'".
The great West, initially explored for its rumours of enormous wealth, continues today, to be "discovered" by Americans for its extraordinary beauty and fascinating cultural textures. The brilliant visuals of spectacular mountain ranges, gushing rivers and what has always been seen as the exotic, primitive, rich but simple lifestyle of the Southwest Indians continues to hold immeasurable economic possibilities. How much was taken...and what we sell asks questions of both the non-Indian and Indian audiences concerning the marketing of the land and its people.

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