Saturday, March 21, 2009

Scenes from the Opening

Bill Y (Cherokee; anth dept. alum), looks at the Grace N. photos loaned by Frank L. Bill is one of my former students, for whom I wrote letters of rec for OU's NAS grad program. He is done with his residency and supposedly working on the thesis. Former OU professor, Clara Sue K (Choctaw) is also in this photo--way at the other end of the gallery, looking my way.

This exhibit was designed to complement a symposium on campus. Hence, the opening night reception, which TH funded out of an oral/public history program account where he stashes PI funds from his oral history contracts, was restricted to only symposium participants (speakers, guests, exhibit participants). It was lots of fun and did allow for some chatting and visiting on a more intimate level as the guest of honor wished. It was also early enough in the evening to tease pre-dinner appetites (maybe it WAS dinner for a few starving students, though). We'll have another opening on April 17th to which the broader campus community is invited. That'll be funded by me and my oven--no pot-stickers, baked brie, bruschetta etc. BUT, it will be equally tasty and relatively easy--brownies, cookies, and so forth. I'm hoping that lots of students from anthro and NAS will come. Meanwhile, here are a few pictures (I was actually so relaxed and inspired by all the speakers of that day that I was talking and enjoying myself and forgot, until the last 30 minutes or so, to take pictures.) Mind you, I was enjoying myself despite the fact that my iPhone had just gone missing and I (correctly) assumed it had been stolen. So, that's how happy I was to be done with this exhibit and excited by the talks I'd been hearing all day. (I bought a new iPhone two days later. I'm just chalking that $350.00 up to the overall cost of the exhibit, because it was stolen off a plinth near the doorway to the museum where I stupidly left it for TWO seconds while the caterers were setting up and I needed to run in back and grab a pamphlet for someone. I cannot even muster too much anger about it, that's how overworked I am this semester. I have a passcode on my new one so it'll be absolutely useless to theives--as is the old one, now).

Richard P. taking a photograph of the image of his grandparents that I featured on the entry wall.
Here he is again, posing with his other photos, his late dad's hammer, and his Cherokee Nation license plate, which is screwing with the flash and automatic light meter on my camera (clearly the reflective paint works well on dark highways).
And here is CR, the guest of honor, in front of the wall where he and his Choctaw ancestors are featured. On the columns flanking this wall, I reproduced the long list of Mississippi Choctaw removed in 1903 (the second removal), drawing a tape-line between his grandmother and great-grandmother's photos and the listing of their names and ages and the county from which they were removed. What a poignant story his is. I hope students who look at this exhibit learn something. I hope it helps to materialize Indian removal and survivance on some level. For most students, this process of ethnocide is just some lines in a textbook. Two cases feature other aspects of his youth and grad/professional career.

One of the emeritus professors from CR's Department, along with the brother of one of the exhibit participants, read about CR's story.

Famous Choctaw historian Dave E chats with...
famous historian of American Indian boarding school experiences (Brenda C., Ojibwe).
AS (Amah Mutson Ohlone) talks to CB about the personal objects and photos he contributed to the show.

Vanessa E (Nor Rel Muk Wintu) and Tony Y (Pit River) hang out with fellow anthro alums and faculty.

These two came late to the reception with their families and proceeded to enjoy the fruit and cheese, which everyone else had sort of abandoned. The little girl on the right was in utero when I worked at the nearby tribal college. Time. Flies.

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