“This exhibition brings forth an obscure topic that in reality, has its roots in all of our lives and that is, that the blending of races has always taken place among the Native and African American peoples.” said Ron Solimon, President/CEO of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “It challenges us all to discover who we really are so that it can shape who we can become.”
Through the themes of policy, community, creative resistance and lifestyles, the exhibition tells stories of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. “IndiVisible,” produced by the National Museum of the American Indian in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), will be on view through September 24, 2011 and then will continue to travel to museums around the nation.
“The topic of African-Americans is one that touches a great number of individuals through family histories, tribal histories and personal identities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide, alienation from our ancestral homelands, and the exhibition acknowledges the
strength and resilience we recognize in one another today.”
“We are proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. African American oral tradition is full of stories about ‘Black Indians,’ with many black families claiming Indian blood.”
The exhibition was curated by leading scholars, educators and community leaders including Gabrielle Tayac, (Piscataway), Robert Keith Collins, (African-Choctaw descent), Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Judy Kerèsz, Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag) and Thunder Williams (Afro-Carib).
African-Native Americans from across North America share their perspectives in a 10-minute video in the exhibition.
Additional programming includes a schedule of films about African-Native Americans and a panel discussion an April 27th titled, “The Painted Heart: Beauty and Diversity in African-Native American Lives.” Panelists include Hakim Bellamy, Social and Community Programs Coordinator, NM State Office of African American Affairs; Richard Luarkie, Governor of Laguna Pueblo and Tom Lark, Curator, African American Performing Arts Center. This event is from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm in the Avanyu Gallery with an admission of $5 general public; $3 IPCC members.
The Links, Incorporated is a primary program collaborator for this exhibition. The Links, Inc. was founded in 1946, and is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. In addition to Links, the National Council of Negro Women is also partial sponsor of this exhibition.
Dr. Harold Bailey, Executive Director for the Office of African American Affairs with the State of New Mexico said, “This exhibition will educate the public about the connection between Native and African American peoples. We should not only embrace our heritage and maintain this historical and cultural relationship, but add to it.”
The accompanying exhibition book, “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas’ edited by Tayac, features 27 essays from authors across the hemisphere sharing first-person accounts of struggle, adaptation and survival and examines such diverse subjects as contemporary art, the Cherokee Freedmen issue and the evolution of jazz and blues. The richly illustrated 256-page book is available online at www.americanindian.si.edu/exhitions/indivisible and at Shumakolowa Gifts in the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. An online version of the exhibition and full national tour schedule are available at www.americanindian.si.edu/exhibitions/indivisible.
Support for the exhibition is provided by the Akaloa Resource Foundation and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an act of Congress in 2003, and will be erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Currently, during the pre-building phase, the museum is presenting exhibitions, producing publications, hosting public events and offering an array of interactive programs and educational resources at the museum on the Web at www.nmaahc.si.edu.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is owned and operated by the 19 Pueblo Indian Tribes of New Mexico. The Center is the official cultural interpretive center for the 19 Pueblos and offers year round public programming, cultural educational opportunities, changing and permanent exhibitions for all ages.