National Museum of the American Indian

New York, NY



who stole the tee pee?, continued


A collaboration with Atlatl, Inc., a non-profit arts organization based in Phoenix, Ariz., the exhibition features the works of 35 contemporary Native artists examining the impact of those changes -- social, political, cultural, and personal. The artists reflect on history in order to understand what their ancestors experienced during the period of forced-assimilation, boarding school education and relocation to distant cities. The artists reflect on their modem day situations, which are sometimes affected by those same forces of change, and often influenced by an entirely new set of circumstances. Historical photographs and earlier works from the museum's collection provide a context for the roots of artistic changes embedded in reservation life since 1900.

Left to right: Beaded pincushion, late 19th c., artist unknown, Kahnawake Mohawk, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Ledger-book drawing, James Bear's Heart, 1876, Cheyenne, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Oval embroidered basket, artist unknown, Aleut, ca. 1900, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Beaded collar & tie, ca. 1950, artist unknown,Yakima, photo: Katherine Fogden; "First Furlough," 1943, Quincy Tahoma, Navajo, Photo: Carmelo Guadagno; We Are Going Shopping," Arlo Nuvayouma, Hopi, ca. 1960, Photo: Katherine Fogden)

"It is vitally important to explore the history of Native cultures in order to understand contemporary Native realities," says W. Richard West, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. "Through this collaboration with Atlatl, 'who
stole the tee pee?' emerges as one of the most insightful and comprehensive surveys of the changing expressions in 20th century Native art from the United States. Presently, as Native Peoples strive to maintain their cultural identities -- and in many cases reclaim or resuscitate their cultural identities -- the National Museum of the American Indian serves as an important source of reference and celebration of the past, present and future of American Indians."

Left to right: Painted Shield, ca.1900, Bear's Heart, Cheyenne, Photo: Katherine Fogden; "The College Indian," 1949, Oscar Howe, Yanktonai Lakota, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Beaded pocketbook, artist unknown, Lakota, ca. 1890, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Bookends, date unknown, artist unknown, made by Haskell College student, Photo: Katherine Fogden; Beaded pocket-watch holder, artist unknown, Comanche, late 19th c., Photo: Katherine Fogden; Ration card, 1883, owned by Lodge Back, Brule Lakota, Photo: Katherine Fogden)

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