REPRESENTING & LOOKING FORWARD

Tribal rap artist

Bunky Echohawk, rap artist

This past year’s art show, Here Forever, was a gem. It was small but so choice. A handful of wonderful artists portrayed their visions of the future. There was discussion about not having a 2011 Tribal Art show, in order to rework the whole thing for the high season of 2012. So this is a test to find out whether ANYBODY is reading this blog….

There was an interesting conversation about our exhibit policy. Tamástslikt exhibits are normally planned around the Columbia River Plateau culture—salmon, horses, language, foods, the tribal place names, history of our region. There is always an underlying thesis that relates the exhibit to the mission of Tamástslikt—to be a trusted source of knowledge, and to “honor, respect, represent, and educate about the cultures of the people now known as the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes.” The curatorial staff is interested in expanding our exhibit policy to include broader issues that affect our people, such as race, holistic health, technology. Some topics thrown on the table were native rap music, Egyptology, Mayan calendar, even cultural exchanges such as Shakespearean drama. Great exhibits cost xaxáykw–the beautiful horse masks exhibit from the National Museum of the American Indian—just to rent it would cost six figures. There’s always a big BUT….

Another thing we want to do—Every winter season the curatorial staff will be deep-cleaning the exhibit cases. They will also rotate stuff out and change the permanent exhibits so the permanent exhibits are not static but always changing, so visitors have a reason to come back and take another look. Rather than place an exhibit in the gallery, the curator will stage some of the conservation work in the gallery. Visitors can walk through and find out what conservation is. They’ll realize what a great job we’re doing taking care of artifacts, and perhaps they’ll want to donate something to Tamástslikt. So February through March, the exhibit gallery will be devoted to “caring for the past.”

Somebody suggested that we hold a “museum club night” where you can come in and help us. Perhaps you could help shake out and refold the Hudson Bay blankets. Perhaps you could scope out a piece of fur for bugs. Anyway try on a pair of gloves and clean something with a brush. You would go behind-the-scenes into the vault. We tossed around some possible names for such an event. Some crazy names were brought up that can’t even be dignified by mentioning. Anyone that has a suggested name for museum club night, send it to randall.melton@tamastslikt.org and you could win a gift card if your suggestion is chosen. This is something we really want to do.

Winona LaDuke

Coming Feb 28 (we hope!)

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One Response to REPRESENTING & LOOKING FORWARD

  1. Kateri Cochran says:

    I like your idea of having tribal members help with restoration, or cleaning. Calling it a club sounds pretty exclusive and calling it a committee sounds like hell on earth. Maybe calling it tribal conservationists. I think there would be a lot of people interested if they knew about it.

    I’m not so sure I agree with your ideas about Egyptology but it sounds like a lot of ideas are being bounced around and I think that’s great. I think our museum is one of the best in the US. I’ve visited a few and think I can say that with certainty. I appreciate all the work that our museum staff is doing. I only wish the museum had been built closer to the main road so it would be more visual.

    Keep up the great work you’re doing.

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