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Mention the border with Mexico these days and dystopian images might come to mind: Agents detaining children in a holding pen, blimps hunting drones, the corpses of border crossers marking the frontier.

But even as President Trump presses ahead with his cry for a wall along the entire border — implying, yet again, that neighbors to the south threaten the richest and most powerful country on Earth — history offers other perspectives.

The photographer Tomas van Houtryve had in mind the nuanced past of what is now the American West when he set out on the border.

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Liz Wallace, left, whose indigenous ancestors were enslaved by John Sutter, a German-born migrant who naturalized as a Mexican citizen in 1840 to obtain a land grant. Arkansas River cliffs, right, part of the early-19th-century border of Santa Fe de Nuevo México and unorganized territory of United States. 2017.CreditCreditTomas van Houtryve/VII

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https://www.nytimes.com

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