An educational symposium to accompany the 150th Anniversary – Treaty of Fort Laramie Exhibition will be presented in The Brinton’s S. K. Johnston, Jr. Family Gallery on Saturday, April 14 and will feature four guest scholars knowledgeable in the fields of U.S. History, photography and American Indian Studies. Symposium topics include an overview of the work of Alexander Gardner, the biographies and stories about the people in Gardner’s photographs and the historical events leading up to the 1868 Peace Treaty.
About the Scholars:
KEITH F. DAVIS (Sheridan, WY), Senior Curator of Photography, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (MO,) and advisor to the Hall Family Foundation (Kansas City, MO), will present an overview of the career and character of Alexander Gardner and the importance of his work in nineteenth century America and the American West. Davis describes Gardner as “one of the most versatile and influential photographers of the mid-nineteenth century … who had clear ideas on both the documentary and artistic potential of photography.” Davis was a contributing author of the book Alexander Gardner: The Western Photographs, 1867-1868, published by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to accompany an exhibition presented in 2014/2015 and is the recipient of various awards including a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1986-87) for his work on the Civil-War era photographer George N. Barnard.
ANDREW SMITH (Santa Fe, NM), of the Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe, has more than four decades of in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field of photography and will present a lecture on the many biographical and anecdotal references found in government reports, historical recollections and biographies of the Native leaders and their families represented in Alexander Gardner’s extremely rare Fort Laramie and Indian Territory photographs.
TOM REA (Casper, WY), is editor and co-founder, with the Wyoming State Historical Society, of WyoHistory.org. He worked for many years in the newspaper business, and his books include Bone Wars: The Excavation and Celebrity of Andrew Carnegie’s Dinosaur (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001, 2004); Devil’s Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006, 2012); The Hole in the Wall Ranch: A History (Pronghorn Press, 2010). Rea will speak on the historical and political context of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, touching on some of the treaties and wars that came before it, conflicting ideals in the Indian Bureau, the power and limits of the U.S. Army on the Plains and the approach of the Union Pacific Railroad.
DONOVIN SPRAGUE (Rapid City, SD), is a Minnicoujou, Lakota, and was born and raised on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. He teaches American Indian Studies at Black Hills State University and is the author of ten books, as well as numerous other publications worldwide. Sprague was named the 2015 Ziebach County (SD) Historian of the Year by the Ziebach County Historical Society and is the recipient of the 2015 South Dakota Humanities Council Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities Award. He has appeared on episodes of the History Channel and History Detectives, documentaries and the movies “Lakota Woman” and “The Life and Times of Calamity Jane.” Donovin will present a talk on the Indian perspective as related to the 1868 Fort Laramie Peace Treaty.