Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures

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Dorothea Lange. Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas. June 1938

Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1958, 9 5/16 × 12 13/16" (23.6 × 32.6 cm). Purchase

Artist, Wendy Red Star: My name is Wendy Red Star. I'm a visual artist. I'm originally from Montana. I grew up on the Crow Indian reservation.

We're looking at a photograph of a barren field and an abandoned house. It's called Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas. Immediately when I saw this image, I felt a lot of empathy. Something about the starkness.

It reminded me a lot of the landscapes of where I grew up and the initiative of the government to assimilate my community, the Crow Nation, into farmers.

And immediately I thought about the first occupants, the indigenous people who once were on these very fertile prairies. And then these farming communities coming, and then they were also pushed off with this destruction of giant dust storms and great hardship for the landscape.

A lot of times people don't feel like they connect to indigenous people. But to me, this was like two communities that were both forced out that could come together on that shared experience.