The Sheldon Jackson Museum will screen the Edward Curtis film, In the Land of the Head Hunters on Saturday, February 24th at 2pm. This is an event in recognition of Curtis’s legacy and the 150th anniversary of his birth.
In the Land of the Head Hunters is a classic film that changed cinema and was the first full-length feature film to exclusively star Native North Americans. Rather than documenting Native life in 1914, Head Hunters documents a moment of cultural encounter between Curtis and the Kwakwaka’wakw actors who were performing Curtis’s scripted version of their own past for the camera.
Some parts of the film do accurately depict Kwakwaka’wakw culture, such as the artwork and many of the ceremonial dances. Others include forms of technology—the plank houses, cedar bark clothing, and massive dugout canoes—that were clearly recalled but in decline in use in 1914 as people adapted to Euro-Canadian life. The most sensational elements of the film—the head hunting, sorcery, and handling of human remains—reflect much earlier practices that had been long abandoned, but which became central elements in Curtis's spectacularized tale. And some activities were never part of Kwakwaka’wakw culture.
The museum is open during the winter Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until noon and 1pm until 4pm with a lunch closure between noon and 1pm. Winter admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and free for ages 18 and under. Admission will be waived during the film screening on the 24th.
PO Box 110571Juneau AK 99811-0571
395 Whittier StreetJuneau AK 99801