Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line

Portraits of Aboriginal Life in the Canadian West

By (author): Rodger D. Touchie
ISBN 9781894974868
Softcover | Publication Date: May 15, 2010
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
192 Pages
$19.95 CAD

About the Book

Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line is both an introduction to the Seattle-based photographer and a tribute to a true visionary. While Curtis’s photographs will long be his legacy, his own story is likewise compelling. Curtis built his first camera at 12 and developed that interest into a large Seattle photo studio by the age of 30. Then, on an expedition to Alaska in 1899, Curtis was exposed to First Nations cultures in a way that affected him profoundly. First Nations people had been decimated due to the diseases and aggressions of white settlers. Curtis, alarmed that their traditional ways of life were in danger of disappearing forever, made an incredible effort to capture their daily routines, character and dignity through photography and audio recordings. Curtis had planned to document only the First Peoples of the United States and Alaska, but his exposure to Canada’s Blackfoot Nation spurred him to include all of North America. The visual result was The North American Indian, a 20-volume record of 75 of North America’s Native peoples. This collection of Curtis’s images includes 100 of his most striking images and a biography. Also available in hardcover.

About the Author(s)

Rodger D. Touchie was first attracted to writing when his MBA thesis was published in three parts by Canadian Business magazine. Rodger continued writing, including books on BC history and travel, before becoming the owner/publisher of Heritage House in 1995. He and his wife, Pat, divide their time between Nanoose Bay and Victoria, BC.


“Rodger D. Touchie’s Edward S. Curtis: Above the Medicine Line is a handsome volume that treats readers to some of Curtis’s stunning black-and-white photography. As Touchie tells of Curtis’s life and travels, the photographs offer compelling glimpses of landscapes and peoples that a century later seem both strangely present and remarkably foreign. You will want to linger over many of these extraordinary images.” —Phil Koch, Canada’s History
"This book provides excellent information on ethnographers' bias and the tension created preserving the cultures and creating an image of the noble savage." —Canada’s History