Edited film documents Harvard Anthropologist Alice Fletcher's pioneering fieldwork conducted among the Omaha Indian tribe in 1881. She is depicted as one of the first anthropologists to establish the importance of conducting field work by immersion in the culture being studied. Film explores the evolution of Fletcher's views from advocating the assimilation of the Omaha into Western culture (and their subsequent abandonment of their traditional culture) to an ultimate embrace and preservation of the richness of Omaha culture and traditions. Fletcher's integral role in the 1887 Dawes Act granting American Indians land ownership and U.S. citizenship and the Omaha Act are explained. Black and white photos depict Fletcher's work among the Omaha and document the adverse effects of legislation. Interviews with present day Omaha reflect the widespread feelings of several important legacies of Fletcher including her extensive published writings on the Omaha people.
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD