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Heath Haussamen

Heath Haussamen

My grandfather, who was a photographer in Albuquerque, took portraits of a number of Native Americans in the 1950s. He also owned negatives of portraits taken by another photographer in the early part of the 20th Century.

Lately, as we’ve prepared to launch our Native America Project, I’ve studied the photographs and wondered what was on the minds of those men and women. I’ve looked for clues about who they were in their eyes, in the wrinkles on their foreheads, in their clothes.

I want to understand what their lives were like.

Through this project, I hope to learn about Native communities and people and gain a greater understanding, and to share this journey with you.

My grandfather took this photo of Lucinda Suina, who is from Cochiti Pueblo, in the 1950s. My grandmother tells me Suina was sitting on the east end of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, and her son let my grandfather photograph her for 50 cents.

Walter Haussamen

My grandfather took this photo of Lucinda Suina, who is from Cochiti Pueblo, in the 1950s. My grandmother tells me Suina was sitting on the east end of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, and her son let my grandfather photograph her for 50 cents.

I hope you’ll be more than passive readers: Each of us views life through our unique lens, with our own life experiences as the backdrop. It’s no different with journalists, who are interpreting through their own lenses as they document what’s around them.

That’s why it’s so important that this project be more than a series of stories we write. It needs to be a conversation, and we want you to take part.

We want you to share your stories with us by writing blog posts or sending us audio or video files, or by commenting on others’ posts.

We’re going to explore some serious issues through this project. It’s an understatement to say that Native Americans have faced great challenges for centuries, and that they still do today.

But we’re also committed to exploring how Native communities and people are thriving, and there is so much resiliency and vibrancy to highlight.

This isn’t another journalistic effort that laments the plight of Native people and then moves on. We want to increase understanding, build connections and shine light. We’re listening. Tell us your stories.

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