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Far West: The Hidden History

Photographer Tomas van Houtryve delves into what he terms “America’s collective amnesia” to uncover the hidden history of the Far West. Through his lens, he explores the forgotten legacy of the region and sheds light on the descendants of those who lived there long before the American conquest. These individuals, including indigenous, black, and mestizo families, challenge the myths and forced amnesia surrounding the American Frontier, and contribute their own overlooked stories to our common history. Far West: The Hidden History, based on van Houtryve’s book Lines and Lineage, examines the role of photography and cinema in the colonization of the American West. Co-directed by Mathilde Damoisel and Tomas van Houtryve, the film captures the resilience of those whose identities were shaped by a border that they never crossed—the border crossed them.

A free classroom-friendly discussion guide for this video is available for download below. SPICE is appreciative of the support of Tomas Van Houtryve for his permission to use some of the visuals from Far West: The Hidden History in this guide. Screen the film here.

SPICE’s partnership with CatchLight is made possible by the generous support of the Chao Minami Family Fund.