Monday, July 6, 2015

Press Release: "IndiVisible" Discusses African-Native American Lives

Exhibition on display in the Y’s Murphy Gallery for summer viewing: 
June 18-August 14, 2015

“IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas” has reopened for summer viewing at the University YMCA’s Murphy Gallery, 1001 South Wright Street in Champaign, Illinois from June 18 through August 14, 2015, 9am to 4pm weekdays (please note summer hours). "IndiVisible" is a 20 panel display focusing on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dual African-American and Native-American ancestry. The exhibition displayed for summer viewing will additionally include a 10 minute media piece, showing the perspectives of African-Native Americans from across North America. 

The exhibition addresses the racially motivated laws that have been forced upon Native, African American and mixed-heritage peoples since the time of Christopher Columbus. Since pre-colonial times, Native and African American peoples have built strong communities through intermarriage, unified efforts to preserve their land and by taking part in creative resistance. These communities developed constructive survival strategies over time, and several have regained economic sustainability through gaming in the 1980s. The daily cultural practices that define the African-Native American experience through food, language, writing, music, dance and the visual arts, will also be highlighted in the exhibition.

A 10-minute media piece is featured with interviews obtained during research and work on the exhibition with tribal communities across North America. Site work was conducted in Mashpee, Mass., with the Mashpee Wampanoag community, in Los Angeles with the Creek and Garifuna communities, with the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla., and at the Tutelo Homecoming Festival in Ithaca, N.Y., which welcomed the Cayuga, Tutelo and Saponi Indian Nations.
“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 museum. “We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide and in the alienation from our ancestral homelands, and it acknowledges the strength and resilience we recognize in one another today.”

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture is proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition,” said museum director Lonnie Bunch.  “African American oral tradition is full of stories about ‘Black Indians,’ with many black families claiming Indian blood. However, there have been few scholarly treatments of this subject which, in the end, expresses the basic human desire of belonging.”

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). 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" is 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).  Support for the exhibition is provided by the Akaloa Resource Foundation and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Local sponsorships include the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, the Native American House and the Committee on Race and Ethnicity (CORE). The University YMCA’s showing of “IndiVisible” is a part of Art @ the Y, a cause-driven, public arts initiative of the University YMCA. All Art @ the Y events are free and open to the public. For more information including parking information and MTD bus lines, visit

Please Note: Murphy Gallery Summer Viewing Hours: 9am to 4pm weekdays
Murphy Gallery will be closed for holiday on July 3rd, 2015. 

Gallery Information
Murphy Gallery
University YMCA
1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL 61820
(Corner of Wright & Chalmers on the U. of I. campus)
Admission: Free
Phone: 217-337-1500

“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

Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 22, 2015
For media inquiries, contact:Megan Flowers, University YMCA Communications Director[]

No comments: