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Thursday, February 25, 2010

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas

In honor of African American History Month, the National Musuem of the American Indian Archive Center is highlighting the NMAI exhibition, IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas.

On display until May 31, 2010, the 20-panel banner exhibit focuses on the interactions between African American and Native American people, especially those of blended heritage. It also sheds light on the dynamics of race, community, culture, and creativity, and addresses the human desires of being and belonging. The exhibit combines compelling text and powerful graphics that includes accounts of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. The stories are set within the context of a larger socity, that, for centuries, has viewed people through the prism of race brought to the Western Hemisphere by European settlers.

By combining the voices of the living with those of their ancestors, IndiVisible provides an extraordinary opportunity to understand the history and contemporary perspectives of people of African and Native American descent. The exhibition is accompanied by a 160-page publication and 10-minute media piece.

Included in the exhibition and in the publication are photographs from the NMAI Archive Center. For example, the above lantern slide of Crop-ear Charley (Seminole) is from the Mark Raymond Harrington photograph collection. The image depicts him cultivating a garden, however it is interesting to note that he also has a gun propped nearby.The photograph was captured in 1908 by Mark Raymond Harrington during fieldwork, possibly while employed by George Heye, founder of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. Click here to view additonal images from the Harrington collection.

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