By Tom Jones, Michael Schmudlach, Matthew Daniel Mason, Amy Lonetree, & George A. Greendeer
People of the Big Voice tells the visual history of Ho-Chunk families at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond as depicted through the lens of Black River Falls studio photographer Charles Van Schaick. The family relationships among those who sat for the photographer are clearly visible in these images. Sisters, friends, families, and young couples appear and reappear, fleshing out a narrative of the period, from 1879 to 1942, referred to as "the dark ages” in Indian tribal history.
Following introductory essays from three of the authors are more than three hundred beautifully detailed duotone photographs. Unique to the project are captions that identify over ninety percent of the individuals pictured—made possible by the continuing efforts of tribal members and genealogists.
A significant contribution to the history of Native peoples, People of the Big Voice is a breathtaking portrayal of a resilient community whose story continues today.
"People of the Big Voice is the collaboration of many individuals who are committed to preserving the history of the Ho-Chunk. These photographs bring forth memories like carefully wrapped, stored items. Only when unwrapped do they reveal the cultural fabric of Ho-Chunk life.” —from the Foreword by Truman Lowe