Tribal museums are on the forefront of representing Native culture and information accurately and effectively. They also advocate for best practices when it comes to repatriation and proper display of artifacts. As Tribal Museum Day approaches we’ll get a rundown of some museums that are making a difference in their communities.
Coming Up on NATIVE AMERICA CALLING
The late educator, writer, and artist Thomas Pecore Weso’s memoir, Survival Food: North Woods Stories by a Menominee Cook, was just released. It gives readers a snapshot of his years growing up on his Wisconsin reservation in the 60s and 70s. He threads his memories in with the food that comes from hunted, fished, and gathered sources. Also, Congress has a chance to provide a consistent source of funding for tribes and tribal organizations for managing bison herds. Those are among the topics on The Menu, our regular feature on Indigenous food and food sovereignty hosted by Andi Murphy.
Through The Decades
The U.S. Congress passed both the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the Indian Arts And Crafts Act in 1990—two pieces of legislation with significant power to protect culture. On the international front, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Mexico rose up in an effort to reclaim their land and resist globalization. Dances With Wolves captured audiences’ attention with a Native cast and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Graham Greene, while a new generation of Native writers and directors made their voices heard. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce remembers the Native ’90s, as part of our series Through The Decades. Shannon Keller O’Loughlin (Choctaw), executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, and Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk), editor of NativeViewPoint.com and certified Rotten Tomatoes critic.
The 1980s saw the rise of gaming on Native nations, a momentum that brought about the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 with revenue quickly hitting $100 million. Wilma Mankiller became the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and Ben Nighthorse Campbell started his long and historic career as an elected leader. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce has the next installment of our new series Through the Decades with Dr. James Riding In (Pawnee), a retired professor and founding member of the American Indian Studies program at Arizona State University focusing on repatriation, sacred sites protection, and Pawnee history and culture; Larry Nesper, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of the book The Walleye War: The Struggle for Ojibwe Spearfishing and Treaty Rights; and America Meredith (Cherokee), writer, visual artist, independent curator, and publishing editor of “First American Art Magazine”.
Watergate, Vietnam, and disco are some of the major highlights that define the 1970s. For Native people, it’s the decade of the Wounded Knee occupation, Self-determination, the federal Boldt decision, and Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love”. Today on Native America Calling, as we continue our trip through the decades, Shawn Spruce looks at some of the highs and lows of the ‘70s through a Native lens with Dr. David Wilkins (Lumbee), professor at the University of Richmond; Dr. LaNada War Jack (Shoshone-Bannock), writer, activist, and the chair of Indians of All Tribes in San Francisco, CA; Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk), editor of NativeViewPoint.com and certified Rotten Tomatoes critic; and Pat Vegas (Mexican/Yaqui/Shoshone descent), singer, songwriter, producer, and bass player for the band Redbone.
The 1960s were the genesis of Native American activism. Urban Native communities, formed by the American Indian Urban Relocation program of the 1950s, were tough and deplorable places to live. The American Indian Movement formed as a result and by 1968, the Indian Civil Rights Act was passed. This decade is also marked by the arrival of the color TV, an explosion of (rock) music, and a new style of Native art. In the first episode in our new series “Through the Decades”, Shawn Spruce remembers the politics, significant events, and pop culture that helped shape Native America with Donovin Sprague (Cheyenne River), author, historian, and professor of history at Sheridan College; actress Dawn Little Sky (Standing Rock and Cheyenne River); Dr. Jonathan Tomhave (MHA Nation), lecturer at the University of Washington; America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), publishing editor of First American Art Magazine, art writer, visual artist, and independent curator; and Deanna Aquiar (Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo), director of programs and development for the National Indian Youth Council.
This year’s class of MacArthur Fellows includes three creative leaders from Native America. Dyani White Hawk (Sičáŋǧu Lakota) draws community and family together through contemporary and abstract multidisciplinary art. The Haskell Indian Nations University alumni has showed her work at myriad galleries including The Whitney Biennial in New York City. Patrick Makuakāne (Kanaka Maoli) is the founder and director of Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, a hula company and cultural organization. Makuakāne is a kumu hula, a master teacher of hula, who’s work connects and promotes contemporary Hawaiian hula, music, and culture while challenging stereotypes and taking back Hawaiian narratives. And Raven Chacon (Diné), Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, who, as an artist, explores the relationships between people, space, and sound by examining the history and theft of land. We’ll visit with a couple of this year’s MacArthur Fellows and learn more about their work.
In the cold expanse of the Arctic, igloos, those dome-shaped structures made of blocks of snow, offer a cozy shelter in the wintertime. It’s one of many types of traditional winter homes tribes from the north down to the Southwest rely on. We’ll talk with traditional builders who carry on igloo and winter house building.
Solomon Awa (Inuk), Mayor of Iqaluit and elder
Jesse Jackson (Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians), Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians education programs officer
Tescha Hawley’s (Aaniiih) breast cancer diagnosis started both a harrowing personal journey to fight the disease and the inspiring effort to help others facing similar health obstacles. Hawley organized funds and other resources for people on Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana who faced long drives, overnight hotel stays, and other expenses to access life-saving care. Her work grew into the Day Eagle Hope Project.
The full picture of how the earliest colonists interacted with the Native Americans they encountered is clouded by the myths constructed by those writing history. Linda Coombs (Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah) offers the perspective from the tribe that greeted the Pilgrims in Race to the Truth: Colonization and the Wampanoag Story for both young readers and adults. She is an author with extensive experience as a tribal historian. Her book offers insights about, among other things, the first Thanksgiving.
Hopi musician and community leader Clark Tenakhongva pays tribute to Bears Ears Monument on his newly released album, “Hon Muru (Bear’s Ears).” The album features flutes, gentle percussion, and vocals in Hopi that make for a contemplative listen. Thursday on Native America Calling in an encore presentation of our regular feature “Native Playlist”, Shawn Spruce talks with Tenakhongva about creating the album and catches up on his recent work on environmental conservation.