Return to the Land of the Head Hunters: Edward S. Curtis, the Kwakwaka'wakw, and the Making of Modern Cinema

Edited by Brad Evans and Aaron Glass
Foreword by Bill Holm
University of Washington Press
April 2014

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In recognition of the film's centennial, and alongside the release of a restored version, Return to the Land of the Head Hunters brings together leading anthropologists, Native American authorities, artists, musicians, literary scholars, and film historians to reassess the film and its legacy. The volume offers unique Kwakwaka'wakw perspectives on the film, accounts of its production and subsequent circulation, and evaluations of its depictions of cultural practice.

Click here for the book's table of contents.

Click here for Reviews and Press.

"Lively and inspiring ... a comprehensive and completely original cross-disciplinary collection that offers a model of how new work on older cultural materials can take place." — FAYE GINSBURG, director of the Center for Media, Culture, and History, New York University

"A highly original collection of essays that offers a theoretically sophisticated understanding ... Exemplifies collaboration between indigenous communities, scholars, and artists." — PAULINE TURNER STRONG, author of American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries

"Curtis's epic melodrama of the precontact Kwakwaka'wakw world has been given a new life, with the advantages of the discovery of a surviving bit of original film, the revival of the orchestral score originally composed for the motion picture, the expertise of film historians and musicians, the use of advanced film-reconstruction technology and modern concepts of restoration. It is a new chapter in the story of Edward S. Curtis in the land of the head hunters." — From the foreword by BILL HOLM

Project Partners

U’mista Cultural Centre 
The Getty Research Institute
UCLA Film & Television Archive
The Field Museum
Milestone film & video
University of Washington Press
Autry National Center 
The Moore Theatre (Seattle Theatre Group)
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Seattle International Film Festival
The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia - First Nations and Indigenous Studies
UBC Centenary 2008
National Gallery of Art
Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
American Museum of Natural History
New York University
Rutgers University
Bard Graduate Center