United States

Restoring the Moon

“Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon” is one of many images Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis captured between 1899 and 1929, documenting Native Americans west of the Mississippi. In thirty years, Curtis visited more than eighty tribes, photographing their customs and traditions, including tribal dances.  The Qagyuhl, depicted in the picture, were a division of the Kwakiutl tribe originally from what is now British Columbia, Canada. In the photograph, Qagyuhl people dance in a circle around a smoking fire in an attempt, according the Library of Congress, “to cause a sky creature [an eclipse], which they believe swallowed the moon, to sneeze thereby disgorging it.

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