Sunday, February 7, 2010

IndiVisible at NMAI

This link talks about an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian titled: "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas." The exhibition will cover several themes in the hopes of addressing the struggle of the people whose ancestors were both of African American and Native American heritage. Included in the exhibition will be a 10 minute video featuring interviews with the represented tribes from Massachusetts, to Oklahoma, to California, and several others. This along with the rest of the exhibition is intended to give visitors more evidence that the composition for the "Native Americans" is just as diverse in its history and customs as the non-natives that also live the United States. This exhibit can and should have a great impact on all its viewers, as they are asked to acknowledge the cruelties that these "Black Indians" had to suffer through, including "genocide and in the alienation from our ancestral homelands." It is an important exhibition because like all other cultures, wants to be accepted and appreciated for its existence.

When the museum opened in 2004, it did not receive as good of a response as other museums, probably due to the fact that it not follow the tradition structure of other museums. Its "natural" look and unorganized displays were an attempt to give the feeling of being made "for Native Americans by Native Americans." The fact that some of the critics didn't like its format tells me that they missed the whole point of its construction. The Native Americans for centuries now have had to adjust to the changes put upon them by the growth of the country around them. They way in which they formatted the museum could be seen as their way of saying that although they live in the same land as us, they do not have the same beliefs nor the same customs. They want to be accepted for who they are and the way they live. In addition, the IndiVisible exhibition could be of further support for this, since it depicts the lives of two groups of people that were forced to survive through terrible mistreatment. It should definitely contain very interesting stories and hopefully make future visitors appreciate the uniqueness of the National Museum of Native Americans for what it is: a small glimpse into a world inside our own.

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