Browse Exhibits (9 total)

Navajo Healing Ceremonies and the Modern Warrior

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The Navajo culture has a long history of conducting "healing" ceremonies to ward off death, curses and ghosts that haunt the living. These ceremonies have their basis in their origin legends and seek the aid of the Yei or "holy people" to heal their returning combat warriors. If a warrior sees or dreams of a ghost it is imperative that the appropriate healing chant or ceremony be conducted to preserve the life of the individual and protect the community to whom they have returned (Dutton, 89). 

As a result of the horrors of World War II, the lack of treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and their oath to secrecy making it hard to share their experiences as a form of treatment (like other veterans), many Navajo codetalkers sought their cultural healing ceremonies to aid in their return to the living (McLain, 227).

The continued failure of the Veterans Administration to acknowledge and effectively treat PTSD, further encouraged returning Indigenous Korean and Vietnam War Veterans to seek comfort utilizing their ceremonies, contributing to the First Nations movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  

It was not until the extensive evidence of stress and moral injury caused to numerous returning Gulf War, Afghan and Iraqi combat veterans did the Veteran's Administration accept and start to proactively treat PTSD. Combined with President Busch's recognition of the Navajo codetalkers in 2000 and all Indigenous codetalkers in 2008, and the publication of their personal histories concerning their combat and transitioning experiences further encouraged the Veterans Administration to acknowledge Native American healing ceremonies as a valid form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).    

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Potawatomi Hunting and Fishing Rights

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In the state of Michigan, issues around indigenous hunting and fishing rights have a storied past and a continued present. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, however, has had a unique narrative in their struggle for sovereignty and rights to cultural sustenance practices. This exhibit explores the Pokagon Band's cultural traditions of sustenance, treaty context, historical leadership, and contemporary public engagement in regards to their hunting and fishing rights.  

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Haida Trade and Relationships

The Haida are a First Nation tribe found on the boundary between British Columbia and southern Alaska, most of the population resides withing the archipelago of Haida Gwaii.

They have always had a deep material culture with unique contributions to trades through their weaving and carving skills. The works of Haida people would reach out to neighboring tribes and have provided a record of the relationship between them and neighboring tribes such as the Tlingit.

The Haida had a thriving population throughout their islands and villages prior to contact with English colonizers who brought measles, typhoid, and smallpox (Archived). The introduction of colonizers to the area is reflected in the changes to both Haida material culture and trade.

This exhibit will briefly go through the changes to Haida trade from the pre to post colonial era.

The Anishinaabe Nation and Hunting, Fishing and Gathering Rights

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The Anishinaabe people, like other First Nations, have an exstensive history involving fishing, hunting and gathering. These traditional practices include great interconnectedness to nature, being, culture and heritage. Over the years in the Great Lakes region, these rights for the Anishinaabe people have changed. This project is split into four series with the intention of carefully analyzing and conveying the impact of hunting, fishing and gathering changes in the Mille Lacs Band of Minnesota and how they have effected the practice of culture and heritage today.

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Changing Representations of Ojibwe Art Forms

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Since the first contact with Europeans, many shifts have taken place within the representations, processes and functions associated within various art forms of the Ojibwe people through the effects of colonization. While the motives behind European interest in Ojibwe crafting have been largely exploitative, disrespectful, and ignorant throughout history, the Ojibwe crafting practices of today serve as a source of empowerment and connection to historical identity. 

Many changes in Ojibwe crafting have taken place through the processes of commodification, the introduction of European materials and ideas, and the effects of outsider influence on both the natural environment and Ojibwe access to this natural environment. However, crafting serves as a strong connection to Ojibwe identity and has still retained many aspects of continuity throughout time, despite these shifts that have taken place through colonization. 

The Cherokee Nation and Endangered Species


The Cherokee nation oringated in the Southeast of North America.  As people who lived off the land and everything that came with it, animals played and continue to play a major role in Cherokee life as a source of food and cultural significance in tribal rituals.  Climate change is beginning to significantly affect waterways and land that are habitats for many animal species in the Southeast, as are human factors such as livestock farming.  This causes diminshing resources and a lack of culturally important animals that hold significant meaning to the Cherokee Nation.   With different efforts from convservation plans and protections, the Cherokee nation and other Southeastern nations are beginning to work towards protecting these endangered animals and protecting land through renewable energy, protection and conservations plans and research.  

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Blackfoot Sun Dance Ceremony


The "Sun Dance" is a ritual ceremoney found in multiple Great Plains nations. Because of some contreversial aspects of the ceremony, it was outlawed by the Canadian Government in 1895. Later in 1904 the US Government outlawed the ceremony (Knowles). This was primarily on the grounds that it was considered a torturous ritual by westerners. 

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Psychological Trauma of Ojibwa Women

From early European settlement to contemporary political and legal battles, North America's Indigenous Nations have suffered hundreds of years of brutality, prejudice, and inequality. Ojibwa women, specifically, endured year of psychological trauma. 

The following pages will examine specific changes that have impacted Ojibwa women historically and contemporarily. Beginning with how colonization brought about sexual violence, the systemic and institutionalization against these women will show how oppression began with patriarchal dominance. Then, a tradition as old as time, porcupine quill box making will be discussed of its relevance in the fur trade and the shift of the economy that projected women into the workforce. Life as an Ojibwa woman has changed over time, including sex roles, often in correspondence to the perpetuation of ideas of the women in relation to the other aspects discussed in this exhibit. Following this discussion will be a showcase of how Ojibwa women and allies have begun to reverse history through advocacy, memorials, protests, and resiliency. 

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Inuit: Living Off the Land


Inuit is a broad term used for Indigenous Peoples of the Artic that include Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. For thousands of years the Inuit Peoples have used natural resources to survive the harsh Northern Artic regions they inhibit. Iuit people use fish, sea mammals, birds and eggs as their means of survival. They believe in respecting the land and ocean that gives them these resources. Therefore they use all parts of the animals to eat, make tools, parkas, blankets, and boats. Recently hunting bans have been placed on some of the anmals they hunt and it is threatening their culture and way of life.