I'd like to thank both Henrietta and Hulleah for inviting me to contribute a chapter to this book. I am completely honored to offer my voice to the dialogue about reflections on Native Photography. I appreciate not only the scholarship that further illuminates the subject of Native Photography, but the unique insight that the various authors brought to the subject. Not only that, it's decidedly cool to have my photograph, "Masks, Masks and More Masks" for the cover. I love the photograph because it references the possibilities that photography as a medium of creative expression is able to bring to the viewer, especially in light of the extraordinary sensibilities that indigenous photographers have historically brought forth with their work, what they're doing now, and what is over the horizon.
"Visual Currencies" is an edited collection of essays coming out of sessions held at the Native American Art Studies Association Conference, Phoenix, 2005. The seven contributors focus on the far-reaching influences of photography on Native American communities, and the possibilities that it currently presents. The essays present issues at the root of contemporary photographic practice, within and beyond Native American and First Nations communities, exploring the values, or currencies, attributed to to photographs by practitioners and institutions. John Tagg has memorably described the history of photography as that of an insistent practice, and this aptly and vividly conveys the legacy of Native American and First Nations photography in its varied perspectives presented by the authors and contemporary photographers who have contributed to this edited volume. By focusing on institutional repositories and contemporary photographic practice, Visual Currencies invites reflection into the 'material turn'; specifically addressing the significance of early photographs and the impact of digital media, the relationship between artistic practice and archival resources, the enactment of sovereignty and the performance of memory, operating at an individual and communal level."