Library of Congress

Classic '70s Poster Art: Akwesasne Notes x Edward S. Curtis


In the early 1970s and onward, the influential Mohawk newspaper Akwesasne Notes came up with a series of posters included as a center spread in each issue. They proved very popular. ICTMN contributor Alex Jacobs, who was an editor and graphic artist at Akwesasne Notes in the 1970s and 1980s, and a correspondent in the 1990s, was with the paper when many of these classic posters were created; the artists and staff who brainstormed over the words and pictures were his colleagues. He recalls: “We had a travelling group, WHITE ROOTS OF PEACE, which toured the country, and a supporter in the Hudson River Valley donated a trove of Edward S. Curtis prints to us. We produced calendars and books and we were always matching quotes from Native peoples with art we made, photos we collected, much of it donated by artists wanting to be supportive. We kept the center spread of the NOTES open for poster ideas and poetry with art. When we travelled around Indian Country we would see the newsprint posters and the $1 posters everywhere.”

The text at the bottom of this poster image reads, in part: “This poster combines a photograph, ‘Bear Belly — Arickara’ by Catlin [this is an error; the image is a photo by Edward S. Curtis, not a Geroge Catlin painting — ed.] with a quote from Luther Standing Bear. Any combination of posters is available at 3 for $1, or 50 cents each.”

Click the poster to view it at a larger size (1381 x 1788 pixels); the image will open in a new tab.

Original poster art by Akwesasne Notes; scanned image courtesy of Library of Congress.

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