Filmmaker Discovers Rare Color Photos of Native Americans From the 19th and 20th Century

Writer/Director Paul Ratner was doing research for his 2013 film "Moses on the Mesa,” a love story about a German-Jewish immigrant and an Acoma Pueblo woman, when he discovered a treasure trove of beautiful color photographs of native Americans. Because color film wasn’t readily available until the 1930s, many of these striking images had been colored by hand.

As Ratner explains in a piece posted on BoredBean, an interesting website devoted to art, photography and architecture, "Painting on black–and–white prints was an art in and of itself, and many of the colorized photos exhibit true talent which preserved for us the truer likeness of the people many a hundred years ago thought were vanishing.”

Ratner’s award-winning "Moses on the Mesa” was based upon the real-life experiences of German immigrant Solomon Bilbo who became governor of his wife’s tribe of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico in the late 1800s (after learning how to ride a horse, shoot a gun, and how to play poker).

Check out the images as well as this trailer for the film.