In 1896 Edward S. Curtis began the project of recording on film with explanatory text all available information on the Indians of North America. He estimated the task would be completed in about ten years. By 1905 the project had not only not been completed, but Curtis had also depleted his own financial resources, and he sought a patron to assume the financial burden.
It is thus near to Nature that much of the life of the Indian still is; hence its story, rather than being replete with statistics of commercial conquests, is a record of the Indian s relations with and his dependence on the phenomena of the universe — the trees and shrubs, the sun and stars, the lightning and rain—for these to him are animate creatures. Even more than that, they are deified, therefore are revered and propitiated, since upon them man must depend for his well-being.
Perhaps it may be, and this is my prayer that, through our sacred pipe peace may come to those peoples who can understand, an understanding which must be of the heart and not of the head alone. Then they will realize that we Indians know the One true God, and that we pray to Him continually.
12 (Introduction) Frithjof Schuon, Light on the Ancient Worlds, “The Shamanism of the Red Indians.” London: Perennial Books, 1965, pp. 83-84. 14 The teachings of the Omaha Pebble Society as given by Wakidezhinga, an old leader. Quoted by Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, The Omaha Tribe.