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Once-Lost American Indian Portraits Go On Display

Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, flickr

BEMIDJI (AP) – The old photos and glass plates lay abandoned for years before David Cooper found them in his parent’s photo studio. They were shot by Danish emigre Niels Larson Hakkerup, who set up shop in Bemidji around 1900 and is considered one of the leading portrait photographers of American Indians.

The once-lost photos have now gone on display at Bemidji State University, where they’ll be part of the permanent collection at the American Indian Resource Center.

The exhibit includes 22 large photos and several smaller prints, taken between 1900 and 1915, and include members of the Leech Lake and Red Lake Nations.

Dominating the exhibit are photographs of Leech Lake elder John Smith, who died in 1922 at a reputed age of 137.

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