“IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas” will open with a public reception at the University YMCA’s Murphy Gallery on Monday, April 13 from 5pm to 7pm; the photography exhibition focuses on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dual African American and Native American ancestry. 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) remains on view through May 14th, 2015. After a brief pause of the exhibition showing, viewing of “IndiVisible” will resume at the University YMCA’s Murphy Gallery through the summer, and after will then continue to travel to museums around the nation. For more information, see universityymca.org/art. Local sponsorships include the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, the Native American House and the Committee on Race and Ethnicity (CORE).
Since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, the lives of Native and African peoples have been closely intertwined. From pre-colonial times, they intermarried, established communities and shared their lives and traditions. But racially motivated laws oppressed and excluded them. Blended tribes worked to preserve their land and rebelled against displacement. Their survival strategies included involvement in social movements, joining together to fight oppressive conditions and regaining economic sustainability. Their unique African-Native American cultural practices through food, language, writing, music, dance and the visual arts have thrived.
“The topic of African-Native 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 Kertèsz, 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.
Support for the exhibition is provided by the Akaloa Resource Foundation and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. The University YMCA’s showing of “IndiVisible” is a part of the Art @ the Y program, a cause-driven, public arts initiative of the University YMCA.
“IndiVisible” Press Images:
Picture 1: Comanche family, early 1900s. The elder man in Comanche traditional clothing is Ta-Ten-e-quer. His wife, TaTat-ty, also wears Comanche clothing. Their niece (center) is Wife-per, also known as Frances E. Wright. Her father was a Buffalo Soldier who deserted and married into the Comanches. Henry (center left) and Lorenzano (center right) are the sons of Frances, who married an African American man. Courtesy Sam DeVenney.
Picture 2: Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham Of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, Doc Cheatham was a journeyman trumpeter and vocalist who received many awards in recognition of his remarkably long careers. Here, he joins trombonist Vic Dickinson and alto saxophonist Earle Warren during an appearance at the Overseas Press Club in New York. Courtesy Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University.
Picture 3: Jimi Hendrix, The Royal Albert Hall, London, February 18, 1969. Hendrix, who spoke proudly of his Cherokee grandmother, was one of many famous African Americans in the 1960s who cited family traditions linking them to Native ancestry. Photo by Graham F. Page, courtesy Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.
Any reproduction of these images must include full caption information. Several high-resolution images may be downloaded from http://newsdesk.si.edu/photos/
For Immediate Release
April 2, 2015
For media inquiries, contact:
Megan Flowers, University YMCA Communications Director