December 08, 2015

Artist Leadership Program Presentations, December 9, Live at the Museum in Washington and Online

On Wednesday, December 9, at 2 p.m., the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., presents artists Maura Garcia, Porfirio Gutiérrez, Linley Logan, and Theresa Secord talking about their art, their research at the museum, and their plans to share what they've learned with their communities. The four artists are in Washington as part of the museum's Artist Leadership Program for Individual Artists. The forum, titled "Bringing It Home: Artists Reconnecting Cultural Heritage with Community," will be moderated by Dr. Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway Indian Nation), a historian at the National Museum of the American Indian. The program is free and open to the public. It will also be webcast live and archived on the museum's YouTube channel. 

"Reconnecting cultural heritage" could serve as the mission statement for the Artist Leadership Program. The program for individual artists brings indigenous artists of the Western Hemisphere to Washington to do research in museum collections and to explore new artistic insights, skills, and techniques; the artists then return home to share with their cultural communities and the general public the value of Native knowledge expressed through art. A second track of the Artists Leadership Program works with local museums, arts organizations, and cultural institutions in the United States and Canada to provide similar opportunities for indigenous artists to do research at the regional level, develop their skills and vision, and encourage personal growth and community development through art. 

Maura Garcia Porfirio Gutiérrez

Theresa Secord
 
 
This year's Artist Leadership Program individual grantees, clockwise from upper left: Maura Garcia, Profirio Gutiérrez, Linley Logan, and Theresa Secord.

Linley Logan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking Wednesday will be: 

Maura Garcia (Cherokee/ Mattamuskeet), from Kansas, works in dance and multimedia performance. Maura plans to incorporate elements from the museum's collections in her work with the youth of the Kansas City Indian Center to create an urban Indigenous public performance. Her primary research focuses on the Cahokia and Spiro sites and the central Mississippi Valley mound sites within 500 miles of present-day Kansas City. 

Porfirio Gutiérrez (Zapotec), from California, is a master Zapotec weaver who works with natural dyes. Porfirio is researching Zapotec textile art fabrication techniques to verify that methods used in the past are still in use today. He will do his community project near the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, in Teotitlan del Valle, a town known for its traditional Zapotec weavings made with fibers dyed with local plants and insects. 

Linley Logan (Tonawanda Seneca), who lives in Washington state, works with Seneca beadwork designs. Linley will do his community project in Tonawonde Onondowaga Yoindzade, his traditional Longhouse community in upstate New York. His primary research focuses on Seneca/Iroquois beadwork clothing patterns, as well as clothing materials such as porcupine quillwork. 

Theresa Secord (Penobscot), from Maine, is a nationally known as an ash and sweetgrass basketmaker. As a response to the loss of ash trees due to insect infestation, Theresa is researching Wabanaki basketry to learn more about other non-traditional materials in weaving practices, such as basswood fiber and cedar. She will share her knowledge and experience from the Washington visit with the Penobscot Nation and other Wabanaki basketmakers at the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine and in the Penobscot tribal community on Indian Island, Maine. 

If you can be free Wednesday afternoon, join us at the museum for what promises to be a wonderful presentation or follow the webcast live. If that's not convenient, bookmark this page and come back in a few days. By then, we'll have a link to the video on YouTube.

Photo credits: Maura Garcia courtesy of Maura Garcia Dance on YouTube. Porfirio Gutiérrez courtesy of Porfirio Gutierrez y Familia. Linley Logan from the artist's Facebook page. Theresa Secord courtesy of the First People's Fund.

 

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August 05, 2015

Summer webcasts: Music, dance, and Indigenous approaches to healthy food and gourmet cooking

The National Museum of the American Indian presents live webcasts of music and dance performances, lectures and symposia, storytelling, and other public presentations hosted by the museum, bringing Native scholarship and cultural arts to a worldwide audience. Programs can be seen on the museum's Live Webcasts page. Between events, the webcast page often replays recent broadcasts.

Here's what's coming up on the webcast calendar for the summer:

Indian Summer Showcase—The Ollivanders and Dark Water Rising 
Saturday, August 29, 2 to 4 pm EDT

The Ollivanders
The Ollivanders.

Indian Summer Showcase features two Native American Music Award (NAMA)–winners. The afternoon concert opens with the rock-based music of The Ollivanders, from Canada's Six Nations Reserve. Last fall Martin Isaacs, Ryan Mickeloff, and Ryan Johnson won the 2014 NAMA for Best Rock Recording for their album Two Suns

Headlining the performance will be Dark Water Rising, members of the Lumbee and Tuscarora nations. The music of Charly Lowry, Aaron Locklear, Corey Locklear, Tony Murnahan, and Emily Musolino  is described as full of soul, blues, and tradition. Dark Water Rising has won three NAMA awards, most recently Best Gospel or Inspirational Recording of 2014 for Grace & Grit: Chapter 1. 

Dark Water RisingDark Water Rising; photo courtesy of Greensky Records. 

 

The following programs, presented earlier this summer, can be seen on the museum's YouTube channel.

Indian Summer Showcase—A Tribe Called Red
Friday, August 7, 2015, 7 to 9:30 pm EDT

A Tribe Called Red 2015Nation-II-Nation

August heats up with an evening of discussion and music by the influential First Nations group A Tribe Called Red, recognized in 2014 as Canada's breakthrough artists of the year. A Tribe Called Red blends powwow rhythms and vocals with the urban influences of techno, dubstep, hip hop, and reggae to create a unique musical style. Their songs, visual art, and stage performances champion issues faced by Native Americans. 

The evening begins at 7 pm EDT in the Rasmuson Theater with an artist panel featuring group members DJ NDN, 2oolman, and Bear Witness. The concert in the Potomac Atrium follows at 8:30 pm EDT.

Top: A Tribe Called Red. Above right: Cover art by Ernesto Yerena for A Tribe Called Red's second album, Nation II Nation (2013).

Living Earth 2015

LIVING EARTH FESTIVAL 2015 
Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19

This year the museum's hosts the 6th Living Earth Festival. Living Earth shares sustainable living practices from traditional indigenous perspectives and celebrates Native music and dance. The webcast program will provide a cross-section of programs and performances from the three-day event.

Living Earth Symposium—On the Table: Creating a Healthy Food Future 
Friday, July 17, 2:00 to 3:30 pm EDT
Archived webcast.

Green chiles roasting
Green chiles roasting at the museum. Photo by Katherine Fogden (Mohawk), NMAI.

A healthy diet is a key component of sustainable living. The symposium On the Table: Creating a Healthy Food Future promises a wide-ranging conversation about sustainable farming, the impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the conservation of heritage seeds, and indigenous approaches to the environment and harvest. Speakers include Ricardo Salvador (Zapotec/German–American), senior scientist and director of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists; Robin Kimmerer (Citizen Band Potawatomi), award-winning writer, scientist, and professor; and Clayton Brascoupe (Tuscarora/Tesuque Pueblo), director of the Traditional Native American Farmers Association. 

Living Earth Festival—Performances from the Potomac Atrium 
Saturday, July 18, 11 am to 2:30 pm EDT 
Archived webcasts of Youghtanund Drum Group (part1 and part 2) and Guate Marimba/Grupo AWAL.

Saturday the festival presents live performances in the museum's beautiful Potomac Atrium. This year Living Earth presents traditional singing, drumming, and powwow style dances by the Youghtanund Drum Group.

Guate Marimba will perform Guatemalan folk music played on the marimba, drums, turtle shells, maracas, and whistles to accompany traditional Mayan dances performed by Grupo AWAL.

Youghtanund Grupo AWAL




Music and dance at Living Earth: Left: Youghtanund Drum Group. Right: Grupo AWAL. 

Indian Summer Showcase at the Living Earth Festival—Quetzal Guerrero 
Saturday, July 18, 3 to 5 pm EDT 
Archived webcast.

Indian Summer Showcase intersects with the Living Earth Festival on Saturday afternoon when Quetzal Guerrero (Native American, Mexican and Brazilian heritage) headlines the first of two concerts to be webcast live this summer. The man with the blue violin returns to the Potomac Atrium stage to wow the audience with his fusion of Latino, jazz, blues, and hip-hop originals. 

Quetzal GuerreroQuetzal Guerrero.

Living Earth Festival—Native Chef Cooking Contest 
Sunday, July 19, noon to 2:30 pm EDT 
Archived webcast.

Chef KaimanaOn Sunday the museum will webcast one of the festival’s signature events, an Iron Chef–style competition. Native Hawaiian chefs Kaimana Chee and Robert Alcain compete for bragging rights as they create a full course meal in which every dish features a special ingredient that is indigenous to Native America. The secret ingredient? Tune in to the live webcast to find out! 

Chef Kaimana Chee.

Stay tuned for future posts about webcasts planned for this fall and winter.

If you're in the Washington, DC, area this weekend, July 17 through 19, and would like to know more about the Living Earth Festival at the museum on the National Mall, the symposium program and festival schedule are available online.

All photos are used courtesy of the artists unless otherwise credited.

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July 17, 2015

The 6th annual Living Earth Festival is on!

YoughtanundThe group Youghtanund demonstrates women’s powwow-style dancing in the Potomac Atrium during the 2015 Living Earth Festival. Photo by Dennis Zotigh, NMAI.


It’s that time of year again: The Living Earth Festival—a signature program of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC—takes place today, Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19. This ecologically friendly family festival has something for every age group! This year’s highlights include a ladybug release in the garden outside the museum, Native dance performances, Native foods, artist demonstrations, a wine tasting, gardening workshops, an Indian Summer Showcase Concert by Quetzal Guerrero, a Native chef cooking competition, hands-on  bracelet-making, and a symposium titled On the Table: Creating a Healthy Food Future.

The events begin at 10 am each day and run until 5 pm. Native food chefs Julio and Heliodora Saqui create traditional Mayan dishes in the Akaloa fire pit outside the museum's first floor. Artist demonstrations are being offered by Janie Luster (Houma), who makes unique jewelry and other items from alligator gar scales found in her home state of Louisiana. Also taking part in the festival are artists Stephanie Madere Escude (Tunica–Biloxi); father and daughter artists Juan and Marta Chiac (Maya) from Belize; Peruvian jeweler Evelyn Brooks (Ashaninkas); and Guatemalan weaver Angelica Lopez (Maya).

Information booths have been set up by the InterTribal Buffalo Council, Traditional American Indian Farmer’s Association, Native Seed/SEARCH, and Twisted Cedar Wines. Navajo Community Health Outreach has a poster exhibit of its work. These presentations take place in the Potomac Atrium and outside the Rasmussen Theater on the first floor. 

Visitors ages 5 and up are invited to make ti leaf lei bracelets in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the 3rd floor. This hands-on activity is first come, first served basis.

Music and dance take place in the Potomac Atrium on the first floor: The Youghtanund Drum Group from Richmond, Virginia, will perform powwow-style dances and songs each day at 11 am and 2 pm (2:30 on Friday). At 12:30 and 3:30 pm on Friday and Sunday, 12:30 only on Saturday, musicians from the Washington-area Central American group GuateMarimba join Grupo AWAL to present traditional Maya dances.

Each afternoon of the festival, the Cedar Band of Paiute Indians of Utah host a wine tasting of their tribally owned Twisted Cedar Wine. Times vary, but the wine tastings all take place in the Mitsitam Coffee Bar on the first floor. 

On Friday at 2 pm, the Living Earth symposium On the Table: Creating a Healthy Future features speakers Ricardo SalvadorClayton Brascoupe (Tesuque Pueblo), and Robin Kimmerer, and moderator Tim Johnson (Mohawk). The symposium—a lively discussion covering sustainable farming, the impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the conservation of heritage seeds, and traditional Indigenous approaches to the environment and harvest—takes place in the museum's Rasmuson Theater. If you can make it to the National Mall, you can watch the symposium live via webcast

On Saturday at 3 pm in the Potomac Atrium, the museum hosts the first of three Indian Summer Showcase concerts for 2015. Quetzal Guerrero and his band bridge Latino and American music styles, including blues, jazz, and hip-hop.

Sunday's highlights include a Native chef cooking competition between Hawaiian chefs Kiamana Chee and Robert Alcain, beginning at noon on the Welcome Plaza outside the museum's main entrance. This year's secret ingredient is cacao, but don't tell anyone. Beginning at 2:30 pm in the Rasmuson Theater, Navajo young people working with Navajo Community Health Outreach will share their tribe’s effort to improve health education and access to healthy foods in the Navajo Nation. Come by and let them know you appreciate the important work they're doing.

—Dennis Zotigh

Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa/San Juan Pueblo/Santee Dakota Indian) is a writer and cultural specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Events from the Living Earth Festival are webcast live throughout the weekend. Take a look at what's on the schedule or go directly to the museum's Live Webcasts page.

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June 24, 2015

Live symposium webcast June 25 & 26—The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire

Chinchaysuyu-suspension-bridge-peru
Q’eswachaka suspension bridge, Apurímac River, Canas Province, Cusco, Peru, 2014. Photo by Doug McMains, NMAI 

On June 25 and 26, the National Museum of the American Indian will present a live webcast of the symposium The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire. The symposium celebrates the exhibition of the same title, opening at the museum in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 26.

The Great Inka Road, a sacred network of roads 40,000 kilometers (nearly 25,000 miles) long, connected a confederation of more than 100 Native nations in six modern countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru—and linked them to Cusco, the imperial capital. In 2014, UNESCO recognized this monumental achievement by including the Inka Road on the World Heritage list.

During the symposium, engineers, archaeologists, and other experts and scholars will discuss the political, economic, and religious ideas that enabled the Inka to consolidate power, and the communications, transportation, and agricultural infrastructure that made it possible for them to administer a vast and diverse empire.

The symposium and live webcast will be presented Thursday, June 25, from 1:30 to 5:30 pm, and Friday, June 26, from 9 am to 5:30 pm. Friday's program will feature Spanish-speaking scholars; live webcasts will be offered in Spanish and with simultaneous translation into English.

The webcasts will be archived on the museum's YouTube channel a bit later in the summer.

Symposium program

NMAI live webcasts

#InkaRoad

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September 07, 2013

Revealing Ancestral Central America, a symposium at the museum in Washington, Sunday, September 8, 2013

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Ulúa River female figure, 900–200 BC. Campo Dos (United Fruit Company Farm 2), Cortés Department, Honduras. Pottery. Collected or excavated by Gregory Mason, acquired by MAI, 1932. 7.2 × 5.5 × 11.25 cm (18/3091). Photo by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI


This Sunday, September 8, from 10:30 AM to 3:45 PM EDT, the Smithsonian Latino Center and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., will host Revealing Ancestral Central America, a symposium presenting current scholarship into the interpretation and recovery of Central America’s rich indigenous heritage. For those unable to attend the symposium in person, the program will be webcast live. (A link to the archived broadcast will also be posted on the NMAI YouTube Channel later in the week.)

Revealing Ancestral Central America and the related exhibition, Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed, on view at the museum in Washington through February 1, 2015, are products of the happy discovery by researchers from the Latino Center that the museum’s holdings include one of the largest and most significant collections of Central American archaeological objects in the world—some 17,000 pieces, including more than 10,000 intact vessels, few of which had been studied or exhibited.

In her essay for the companion book to the exhibition and symposium, Rosemary A. Joyce, professor of archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, offers a glimpse of the kinds of knowledge to be gained from such a collection:

Take as an example an assemblage [of some 400 objects] recovered from a site in the Ulúa river valley in Honduras, called Farm Two by Gregory Mason, who collected the materials for the Heye Foundation [the New York institution that became Museum of the American Indian (MAI) and, in 1989, the National Museum of the American Indian]. . . .

Obsidian, jade, and marine shell were imported from distances ranging from thirty to more than 250 kilometers. While most of the painted and mold-made pottery was locally crafted, some dishes came from Belize or Guatemala, some jars from the Sulaco valley to the east. And all this from a rural village whose modest houses were made of poles, covered with clay, topped with straw roofs. . . .

At scales ranging from larger-than-life stone sculptures depicting humans and supernatural beings to the intimacy of jewelry . . . , it is evident that the people of pre-16th-century Central American societies lived in a visually rich, materially luxurious world. Nor was this visual and material richness limited to a small, privileged group. Even in the most stratified and unequal societies in the region, such as those of the Classic Maya (ca. AD 250–850), research in rural locations like the well-preserved village of Joya del Cerén, El Salvador, shows that farmers owned dozens of pottery vessels, many of them brightly painted or modeled into the shapes of fantastic animals. . . .

In contrast to earlier generations of scholars, who focused on economic and political stratification to describe pre-Hispanic Central America, Dr. Joyce and her colleagues are re-creating a more complex, detailed picture: 

. . . [A] chain of societies connected through intentional human action leading to travel, exchange, and participation by visitors in social events. . . .

The dazzling objects in collections established by archaeologists and museums are making visible what we should have known all along: between the apparently small, isolated villages of Central American there existed enduring ties composed of social relations, respect for beliefs about the place of humans in the cosmos, and shared appreciation for items of beauty and the materials from which they could be made. 

Prof. Joyce's symposium presentation, "What Archaeology Reveals about Central America's Past," will be followed by "Interethnic Relations and Multicultural Landscapes in Ancestral Central America," by John Hoopes (Kansas State); "Indigenous Heritage in Central America Today," by Victor Monteyo (Jakaltek Maya; University of California, Davis) and Georgina Hernández (Museo de la Palabra y Memoria, El Salvador); and "Perserving Central America's Patrimony," by the Hon. Muni Figueres (Ambassador of Costa Rica), Fabio Amador (National Geographic), Francisco Ulloa–Corrales (National Museum of Costa Rica), and Prof. Joyce.

We hope you can attend the symposium and see the exhibition in person. But if not, a wealth of materials are available on line—not simply the live webcast (and eventually the archived video on the NMAI YouTube Channel), but the exhibition website in Spanish and English, and the complete catalog, edited by Dr. Joyce, as a downloadable pdf.

Revealing Ancestral Central America 
Sunday, September 8, 2013
10:30 AM to 3:45 PM EDT
Rasmuson Theater, National Museum of the American Indian
4th & Independence SW, Washington, DC

This program received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Excerpt from: Joyce, Rosemary A., “Surrounded by Beauty: Central America before 1500,” in Revealing Ancestral Central America, ed. Rosemary A. Joyce, 13–21 (Washington, DC: The Smithsonian Latino Center and the National Museum of the American Indian, 2013). 

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I hope carbon dating has been done on these objects, i would love to read more on this.

I never saw that kind of rare images ever. It's really a good one with well explained blog about the unique topic.