For the pictures provided in this book, the purpose was to sell the publicity of the Glacier Park to people in order to have many visitors. In these photos, much of their purpose was to attract people to come to the Glacier Park using photos of the Indian Blackfeet community. The Blackfeet people posing for these photos were only used for this purpose and probably never had any other significant role within the park. The pictures are meant for publicity, which is the same as advertising. Thus, most of the photos were faked to attract visitors to the glacier park and did not tell the truth about the place (White, 1994). The pictures do not provide a valid representation of the Glacier National Park and are only used as a marketing tool to attract visitors to the area for commercial purposes.
In the fourth photograph, “Spear Fishing in Glacier National Park,” a Blackfeet man poses for a photograph aiming his spear in the water. This suggests that he is spear fishing, which could sell the publicity of the Glacier Park. However, the truth is that spear fishing would not be possible from such a height. At such a distance or height from the water, it would be remarkably easy to miss the target, and considering that the water looks too deep for spear fishing. Additionally, the spear does not look sharp enough to pierce a fish. Spear fishing in Glacier Park would not have been possible due to such topography (Photographs of the Blackfeet at Glacier National Park and on the Reservation, 1890-1930 picture 5). Therefore, this picture was just faked in order to attract people to publicize the park so that more people would visit. The truth is that no such activity might have taken place in Glacier Park. Thus, the photos were faked for the sole purpose of publicizing the park.
This fact can further be illustrated by the third photograph, “Blackfeet and Golfers,” which suggests that Blackfeet used to act as caddies for golfers who came to Glacier National Park. From these pictures, the Blackfeet are standing in front of the golf player and two more white people alongside them. In this particular photograph, the Blackfeet are not playing the role of caddies to the golfers. It would be more appropriate to say they are observing how the game is played in order to learn. Caddies would not be sitting down while the player is playing (Photographs of the Blackfeet at Glacier National Park and on the Reservation, 1890-1930, picture 3). This photograph does not show any of such roles played by the Blackfeet. Rather, it suggests that the Blackfeet are learning about the game or just watching. The photo is faked to provide more publicity for the park. Even though the Blackfeet did play the role of caddies for Glacier National Park Golfers, this photograph does not show such a role from the Blackfeet.
To drive further home the point on deceptive nature of the photographs, the last photograph, “Two Guns White Calf Reading,” a man poses for a photo holding a book to suggest he is reading. The man, known as Two Guns White Calf appeared in several other photos for publicity of the park. This suggests that in this particular photograph, he was not reading. Rather, he was only posing for the photograph. It means that most of the photographs taken the Blackfeet were only required to pose, and did not depict the truth about the park. This is the same as advertising, which is meant for attracting and publicizing products.
From the photographs provided, there is evidence that much of what is depicted is not true. Rather, the photographs were just faked for publicizing the park to people. The photos suggest that the park is full of Indian Blackfoot people culture. It suggests that one is welcomed by the Blackfeet to the Glacier National Park, as well as think that the park is about the heritage of the Blackfoot community while the truth might be otherwise. Further, some of the activities used for publicizing the park do not depict the meaning they are supposed to deliver. For instance, using spear fishing to publicize the park means there is such an activity in the park when the truth suggests the activity could not be carried out in the park. Therefore, the photographs are just pictures of people posing publicity of Glacier National Park.
Photographs of the Blackfeet at Glacier National Park and on the Reservation, 1830-1930. Commercial Photographs from Glacier National Park.
White, R. (1994). Frederick Jackson Turner and Buffalo Bill. In R. White & P.N. Limerick, The Frontier in American Culture. California, C.A: University of California Press.
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