« What to expect when you’re expecting (an exhibition). | Main | Curator Trek »

October 09, 2009

Upcoming Teacher Workshop for IndiVisible: Thursday, October 15, 2009 (4-6:30 pm.)

IndiVisible:  African-Native American Lives in the Americas, produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, raises a host of challenging, and sometimes controversial themes, about identity, race, shared (but often invisible) histories and heritage.  How well do textbooks and current curricula present complicated issues of race, identity, and show the diverse historical interactions between different ethnic groups?  As teachers, how often do you get to address these themes in the units that you teach, and what are some of the strategies that you presently use to encourage students to explore these sensitive issues?


Educators are invited to attend our upcoming workshop for IndiVisible on Thursday, October 15 from 4-6:30 pm. at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Participants will learn about primary sources associated with the exhibit, receive a sneak-peek of the show, and have the opportunity to meet with one of the co-curators of the exhibit, local activist and educator Penny Gamble-Williams.


Advanced registration is required.  Please visit our education homepage at www.nmai.si.edu/education to download a registration form (located on our Teacher Programs page), and to learn more about this and other upcoming events.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Upcoming Teacher Workshop for IndiVisible: Thursday, October 15, 2009 (4-6:30 pm.):


How do we include the Choctaws in the exhibits?
They were a major Indian Nation responsible
for the civilization.
Many of the Choctaw Nation villages were located from the Choctaw Sea called Atlantic today.

Forts which became State Parks Like Fort Fort Cooper and Jackson State Park in Florida has many of the artifacts of the Choctaw People.

How do we reclaim this artifacts so they can be apart of this museum exhibit?

My name is Louise Thundercloud and I am a mixed blood as are most of us in urban areas. When The Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian opened, I was very excited, I took off from work the entire week to attend the festivities. I missed being around Native people and enjoyed myself very much.

I was first made aware that the issue of color and ethnicity existed when I was called a nigger by a western Tslagi, I was more surprised by her comments to me than anything else, but I went on to enjoy myself for the remainder of the day.

During the opening of the museum I overheard many elders saying to whites that "we must begin the healing between us". After hearing one such conversation, I went to the elder who I believe was Tslagi and told him that the healing needed to take place between Native people, both who had ties to Africa and those who do not.

I am very happy that a dialog exist between native peoples in the project of Indivisible, however I strongly feel that the issue of self-identification and being native was not given enough of a consideration or one at all.

I was thinking of a observation and question the late Vine Deloria Jr. made of the Lakotah. His question was "do the Lakotah cease existing because their land base was disrupted"? I ask the same thing when the issue of race, being mixed blood and native come up.

Because I encounter nastiness from other natives who have an issue with my skin color, does that mean I am no long native?

And here is my other question, do I hear the very same issues from those who are mixed with european? Why is it such a divisive matter not only in native circles, but in african american circles as well?

Friday night at the museum, I heard of the issues as they pertained to native people with african blood from the native community, however what of those issues as they come from the african american community?

My other observation would be that more dialog needs to happen in some way to discuss issues of identity. Why is it that some of us who are of mixed ancestry are very protective of our native identities, and identify only as our nations, not as afro native, or black indians?

Of course we are in this century, but aren't some of the problems we face as native people, a direct effect of forgetting the past? Who were we in the past? How would we have been treated traditionally?

I also have issue with likening our struggles as native peoples to that of african americans, they are not similar in my mind because we are from sovereign nations? Civil rights denote minority status, status of those who do not belong to the land. As native people we do belong to the land, and the land to us as Creator chose it. We were given responsibility to care for this land, were we not?

I understand not all of us had the opportunity to be raised with knowledge of our traditions, or our peoples, some had that snatched away, however shouldn't this acknowledgment be accompanied by offers of learning what we should know?

Indivisible asks that we be all welcome at the table, that was also my goal in my conversations with the museum, however since this step has been taken, should we not seriously question how we will use this acknowledgment? Will we use it to learn, to become as one with our people, or to show in one more way, how different we are?

Again I will ask, why is this not such an issue with those who are mixed with european?

Louise Thundercloud


I am a mixed blood as are most who are in urban areas. My questions concernng the Indivisible project is this, how important is identity as a native person? I ask this, because the hurts expressed by many at being left out of pow wows, left out of discussions because of the color of skin easily has created a third definition, afro indian.
I am a amature historian of a sort, I am also very solid in my identity. As a young girl was told of my native ancestry before any other ancestry, I was surrounded by my native ancestry. Later on I heard of the african and scot irish in my family.
I read the writings of Vine Deloria Jr. on the Dawes rolls & the Lakotah people, and feel he made a valid point, that was did the Lakotah cease being Lakotah because they had a diminished land base?
Because many of us have had terrible experiences within the native community, are we not native as well?
My mixtures are Hunkpapa/Dakotah/Tslagi/Siksika & Coast Salish. Some of my blood is from Benin west africa & the moors. I indentify as indigenous or native.
My desire to have native people open dialogue for those of us who have african ties was for healing & education.
I still want us who have this blood mixture to be able to identify with who our people are. I never hear those with european blood say they are white indians, so I don't understand the push to be black or afro indians

Greetings, when I searched for my ancestor who is on the Dawes rolls, it was suggested I try accessgenealogy. It is a free site. You can also put the final Dawes rolls into your browser & check that way. Was your ancestor Cherokee or Freedman
there are two different rolls

Thanks for putting this type of context.
I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this..


Easily, the post is actually the greatest on this deserving topic. I agree with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your coming updates.

Are there any more of these planned in 2011?


Thank you for asking. The museum's Education Office will have workshops in Washington this fall to discuss teaching opportunities using an upcoming museum website on Native knowledge of the environment. Dates and more specific topics are yet to be determined.

If you'd like to receive NMAI's email newsletter for teachers, please write to us via NMAISocialMedia@si.edu. We'll put your address on the email list and keep you in the loop.

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information
in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the
look for such information.

This information is very helpful. As an instructor of High School and
Community College students, it's good to know how to reach
my students better through the online components of
my Religion classes.

Thank you for keeping us updated.

The comments to this entry are closed.