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Cultural Memory and Amateur Film: The Visual Legacy of the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial

August 2, 2023

 Alison Griffiths, Ph.D

Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies at Baruch College, The City University of New York


This lecture is an ONLINE ONLY presentation, cosponsored by the New Mexico History Museum and the Friends of History in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibit, Honoring Tradition and Innovation: 100-Years of Santa Fe’s Indian Market, 1922-2022, and the upcoming 2023 Santa Fe Indian Market, on August 19-20.

This talk explores the vibrant history of the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial (ITIC) from its inauguration in 1922 to the early 1940s. Drawing upon a treasure trove of materials on the ITIC from several regional archives, including the Palace of the Governors, Professor Alison Griffiths examines how photographs, films, posters, and other ephemera transport us into the rich history of Ceremonial that celebrated its centennial in 2022. These artifacts attest to the enduring legacy of the ITIC as a powerful symbol of Indigenous resilience with a rich record of visual, dance, and material culture. Special attention will be paid to amateur films of the ITIC made in the 1920s and 1930s, recordings capable of activating meanings that challenge notions of home movies as films without public value. The films were made by American geologist William Wrather and interweave footage of Wrather’s family with recordings of the parade and dances, bringing nuanced meanings to bear on the history of the ITIC.


Alison Griffiths is a Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies at Baruch College, The City University of New York, and a member of the doctoral faculty in Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center.  She is the author of the multiple award-winning Wondrous Difference: Cinema, Anthropology, and Turn-of-the-Century Visual Culture (2002), Shivers Down Your Spine: Cinema, Museums, and the Immersive View (2008) and Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America (2016), as well as over 50 journal articles and book chapters.  Her research has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the NEH, ACLS, The Waterhouse Family Institute, the Institute for Citizens and Fellows, and the Huntington Library in Los Angeles among others. She recently completed a position as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Arctic Studies in Norway, where she undertook research on early representations of Indigenous Sámi at the National Library of Norway in Oslo.

Dr. Griffith’s latest book, Nomadic Cinema: A Cultural Geography of the Expedition Film, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. You can learn more about her work at

Here is the link to Dr. Griffith’s First Wednesday Lecture:


August 2, 2023
Event Category:


Friends of History
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