Hyperspectral imagery typically provides a wealth of information captured in a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum for each pixel in the image; however, when used in statistical pattern-classification tasks, the resulting high-dimensional feature spaces often tend to result in ill-conditioned formulations. Popular dimensionality-reduction techniques such as principal component analysis, linear discriminant analysis, and their variants typically assume a Gaussian distribution. The quadratic maximum-likelihood classifier commonly employed for hyperspectral analysis also assumes single-Gaussian class-conditional distributions. Departing from this single-Gaussian assumption, a classification paradigm designed to exploit the rich statistical structure of the data is proposed. The proposed framework employs local Fisher's discriminant analysis to reduce the dimensionality of the data while preserving its multimodal structure, while a subsequent Gaussian mixture model or support vector machine provides effective classification of the reduced-dimension multimodal data. Experimental results on several different multiple-class hyperspectral-classification tasks demonstrate that the proposed approach significantly outperforms several traditional alternatives.