People of the Big Voice tells the visual history of Ho-Chunk families at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond as depicted through the lens of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, studio photographer, Charles Van Schaick. The family relationships between those who “sat for the photographer” are clearly visible in these images—sisters, friends, families, young couples—who appear and reappear to fill in a chronicle spanning from 1879 to 1942. Also included are candid shots of Ho-Chunk on the streets of Black River Falls, outside family dwellings, and at powwows.
The book includes three introductory essays (a biographical essay by Matthew Daniel Mason, a critical essay by Amy Lonetree, and a reflection by Tom Jones) and 300-plus duotone photographs and captions in gallery style. Unique to the project are the identifications in the captions, which were researched over many years with the help of tribal members and genealogists, and include both English and Ho-Chunk names. People of the Big Voice is a breathtaking portrayal of a resilient people whose story continues today.