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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Emily Gomez

SPE Member since 2004
Member Chapter: Southeast


Unearthed: A Photographic Search for Native American History through the Landscape
By Emily J. Gómez

For ten years, I have been researching and photographing places where Native American people once lived. What began as a large format formal exploration of ancient mound sites has become a visual memorial to the people who perished from European contact or who were forcibly removed from their homelands by the U.S. Government. Along with serving as visual memorials to past people, these photographs are also documents of what we currently value as Americans as evidenced by the things we build, preserve and destroy.

I make these photographs in order to think about those who lived here before us-where our neighborhoods, shopping centers, schools, sports stadiums and playgrounds now stand. I make these photographs in order to think about Indian Removal, the current status of Native Americans, and the racism and greed that still pervade our culture. I make these photographs because I believe we can learn more about our nation and how to improve it by remembering the darkest parts of our past rather than by simply celebrating our accomplishments.

Chief Menominee Memorial, Plymouth, IN


Carter's Lake Dam, former site of the Cherokee town of Coosawattee, Elijay, GA

Cowee, Swain County, NC

Nikwasi Mound, Franklin, NC

Norwood Mound, Norwood, OH

Porteus Mound, Coshocton, OH

Old Stone Fort, Manchester, TN

Trahlyta's Grave, Lumpkin County, GA

Wilson Mound, South Charleston, WV

Camden Park Mound, Huntington, WV

Keowee Town, Salem, SC

Shaking Rock, Lexington, GA

Oconostota's Grave on the former site of the Cherokee Town of Chota

Criel Mound, South Charleston, WV

Mound Cemetery, Marietta, OH

Gnadenhutten Cemetery, Gnadenhutten, OH

Red Clay State Park, Replica of the Meeting House where the Cherokee Council last met before Removal, Red Clay, TN

Ashland Central Park Mounds, Ashland, KY

Former Site of Fort Detroit, Detroit, MI

View from the top of the Miamisburg Mound, Miamisburg, OH

LP Field, Nashville, TN

Wright Brothers Mound Group, Dayton, OH

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