Sweet Medicine: Photographing American Indian History Presented at the Amon Carter Museum

Release date: 
November 7, 2006

FORT WORTH, Texas---Historic sites of American Indian conflict with the United States government and its citizens form the core of a photography exhibition that opens at the Amon Carter Museum December 16, 2006. On view through July 15, 2007, Sweet Medicine: Photographing American Indian History will feature photographs by Drex Brooks, who in 1987 began photographing locales that in most cases are sites of fierce battles, but in others echo moments of hostile contact, tragic misunderstanding or dissension over contested lands. Today, many of these locations have official markers and have become tourist attractions, while others are all but forgotten to history, having become part of the ebb and flow of public life or returned to nature completely.

In 1995, photographs from Brooks’ series were published in Sweet Medicine: Sites of Indian Massacres, Battlefields, and Treaties (United of New Mexico Press, 1995). Ten years later, Brooks donated 12 prints from the series to the Carter, complementing its rich holdings in photography related to American Indian history and culture. The first exhibition of these works, which takes its title from the book, juxtaposes them with 19th-century photographs that relate directly to the conflicts that Brooks’ pictures remember.

“Brooks’ subtle photographs offer a nuanced perspective on the relationship between history and memory in American culture,” said Assistant Curator of Photographs Jessica May, who curated the exhibition. “They remind us that the internal wars of the 19th century left a complex legacy that touches on many aspects of our everyday lives, from how we think of land as property to how we understand the settlement of the western United States. By comparing Brooks’ photographs with 19th-century photographs of similar sites, battle participants and treaty ceremonies, this exhibition offers viewers a window onto how our understanding of American Indian history has changed over time.”

As a group, the photographs in this exhibition form a compelling meditation not only on the American Indian experience in the United States, but also on the difficulty of remembering and memorializing that experience. The images prompt viewers to question how these sites---and the history of the conflicts that they bring to mind---should be remembered.

Public Programs:

Thursday, March 1, 6 p.m.
Sweet Medicine
Drex Brooks, Professor of Art, Photography Program, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah
Hear Brooks speak about Sweet Medicine, his photographic project documenting contemporary sites and landscapes that are significant in the history of the conflict between Euro-Americans and American Indians. He will discuss the genesis of the project, issues of personal and cultural memory, and the notion of historical accuracy.

Exhibition Admission

Museum Hours
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 5 p.m.
Closed Monday and major holidays.

CONTACT: Carol Noel, Amon Carter Museum
817.989.5066; cell 817.614.9555
Please call for digital images