Distinctive Native American traditional cultures have survived in the Southwest more frequently than any other region of North America. In the early 20th Century the undisturbed nature of their homelands, religions, languages, social institutions and aesthetic traditions attracted anthropologists, writers, artists and tourists of European or Euro-American cultures to the region.
Dawn of a New Day is a photographic exhibition organized from six archival collections that document the intersections of Euro-American and Native American culture in the Southwest. Five individuals and one family who created or collected the photographs, worked and sometimes lived among the Native Americans, donated historical images that reveal the cultural forces at work during the first half of the 20th Century.
- Odd S. Halseth, an archaeologist, and City of Phoenix Anthropologist, documented the excavation of the Hohokam mound platform dated 1000 A.D. to "reconstruct" the past. Selected photographs show the excavation site. Other photographs from his collection depict the activities of a people in transition.
- Dorothy Robinson, a teacher and author born in Phoenix, Arizona wrote historical stories about Arizona for young students. Her photographs captured the lifestyles and ceremonies of Native Americans of the 1920s.
- Ryder Ridgway, a local historian and writer born in Safford, Arizona, who wrote for several newspapers and magazines in Arizona, collected historical photographs dating from the late 1800's.
- In 1919 Lutheran Minister Francis Uplegger arrived at San Carlos to start a mission and a mission school. Uplegger and his family mingled with the Apache and documented their daily life over a twenty year period. His photographs offer the viewer a picture of the changes in education and lifestyle of the San Carlos Apache.
- Milton Snow worked for United States Indian Service. He created a book of images that illustrates the culture, land and values of the Navajo.
- The Greene family worked and lived with the Hopi and the Navajo American Indians from the 1940s and their relationships continue to the present day.
Through their photographs we have a glimpse of a few episodes in the long journey of acculturation and cultural preservation.