The magic lantern was very popular in America at the turn of the 20th century. Millions of slides were produced for audiences eager to be entertained and learn about the world beyond their town or city. By the 1920s, when today’s slide was probably made, ‘Cowboys and Indians’ films were the staple diet of cinema movies and this lantern slide is an interesting mix of a popular subject and educational intent. As you can see, it came with a two-sided explanatory card which is clearly aimed at children.
These are Sioux Indians, today known as Native Americans or First Nation people. In this photograph, they are posing for the camera, dressed as movie audiences would expect. In reality, by this time, native Americans had lost the long and often vicious battle to maintain their traditional lifestyle, had accepted that they were no longer dominant in their own country and were reliant on Government hand-outs.
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