By Tamara Ikenberg
This weekend and next week, Indian Country shines with matrilineal masterpieces, Auntie art, the return of Reservation dogsand a delicious day of Choctaw culture.
The Native News Online Events Guide is here to set the scene.
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Noojimo (She heals)
WHEN: Until September 17
WHERE: All My Relationship Arts, 1414 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Event Page
When she was 12, one of the Nedahness Rose Greene aunts took the preteen under her wing and behind the wheel.
“An aunt of mine actually taught me to drive,” Greene (Anishinaabe) told Native News Online. “We live on the Leech Lake reserve so there are long dirt roads and there were a lot of stops and starts with braking. It was pretty scary at first, but after a while we sat back and laughed, and I did pretty well.
This sweet aunt memory is referenced in Greene’s photo “Your Auntie is Cool.” The sleek portrait, with a vintage car in the background, does not include Greene’s driver’s aunt, but shines the spotlight on generous and respected Anishinaabe educator and versatile aunt LuAnn Robinson.
The image is featured in the aunt-centric exhibition Noojimo (She Heals), curated by Hillary Kempenich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, culture carrier and activist.
Being on the show is poignant for Greene, who said most of her dear aunts are no longer living. Creating pieces for the show allowed her to reconnect and remember.
“I wanted to portray my view of my aunts,” Greene said. “My aunts were always shrewd and beautiful and elegant and classy. They were like my second mothers.
The exhibition, which explores the importance of Aunties in Indigenous spaces, includes the work of Greene, Greene’s sister Rayshele Kamke, Sharon Day, Somah Haaland, Tara Keanuenue, Eve-Lauryn LaFountain, Tanaya Winder, Agnes Woodward, Racquel Banaszak, Deanna L Croaker, Dyana Decoteau-Dyess, Rita Erdrich, Cynthia Hamilton, Penny Kagigebi, Rick Kagigebi, Teresa McDowell, Loriene Pearson, Valaria Tatera, Nelson White, and Melissa Widner.
For Greene, a highly sought-after photographer and activist, it’s time for aunts to be creatively celebrated and commemorated
“A lot of our Aboriginal kids don’t have anyone to look up to, and a lot of our role models are aunts,” Greene said. “Aunties heal because they inspire and nurture us and don’t judge us. They accept you for who you are without scolding you.
Greene’s sister, Rayshele Kampke, also works on the show. Its warm and inviting black and white drawing of Mary Lyons, beloved Anishinaabe elder, author and all the “great-grandmother” aunts, is adapted from a photo taken by Greene.
For Kampke, Lyons embodies the spirit of the supportive and wise aunt.
“I learned so much from her by reading her books. She is super knowledgeable and she shares traditional methods and wisdom with other people. Kampke told Native News Online. “Everyone feels like she’s her aunt or her grandmother and a lot of people look up to her in different ways.”
Booking Dogs Season 2 Premiere
WHEN: Friday, July 29, 8 p.m.
WHERE: River Spirit Casino Resort, 8330 Riverside Pkwy., Tulsa, OK; Event page
Muscogee Nation Reservation dogs The second season premiere event will also mark the debut of a modern Muscogee masterpiece immortalizing iconic main characters Bear, Elora, Willie Jack and Cheese.
Last week, Muscogee artist Joe Hopkins led a collaborative community art project at the Tulsa Creek Indian Community Center. Nearly 100 community members, from toddlers to elders, came out to help bring Hopkins’ funky and colorful vision of tile art to life.
Hopkins’ design captures the dogs all dressed up in their iconic Quentin Tarantino-inspired formation against a backdrop of funky multicolored squares.
“The Reservoir Dogs kind of scene is what she emulates,” Hopkins said. It’s just an image that I thought was really cool.
A mystery guest at the art-making event also thought the piece was irresistibly awesome. And when the guest approached Hopkins, he presented a chance offer.
“One of the executives from the show showed up and was just hanging out in the background and watching the room as it was coming together. And he said ‘You know, what the hell? what should we do with that?” Hopkins told Native News Online. “So that’s going to be shown at the premiere. It felt like it was meant to be.
Hopkins said he hoped some of the writers and cast members who were set to appear at the premiere signed him on.
This meeting of the art and the sensation of the small screen is all the more significant as the Reservation Dogs, who live on a reservation in the fictional countryside of Okearn, Oklahoma are obviously Muscogee even though it is never specifically stated on the show.
The proud pop cultural connection between the show and the creators adds power to the collaborative community piece.
“I thought the project would be really good for the community because it’s a piece that they can not only say they’re a part of, but they can really take ownership of it because of the purpose of the show,” said Hopkins. “So it sort of has a double meaning there.”
Celebration of the first anniversary of the Choctaw Cultural Center
WHEN: Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Choctaw Cultural Center; 1919 Hina Hanta Way, Calera, OK; Event Page
There will be plenty of banaha bread baking at the Choctaw Cultural Center’s first anniversary celebration.
Yes, it’s banana. No banana. The center’s Champuli cafe will serve the traditional cornmeal dish cooked in corn husks all day, as well as Indian tacos, grape dumplings and more flavorful traditional dishes.
The anniversary celebration will also include an art market, children’s activities including kite flying and bunny stick throwing, a chocolate making class, a social dancing exhibition and film screenings, including Spirit Flute: Healing the Heart, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Wes Studi.
Matrilineal: Legacy of our mothers
WHEN: From Friday 29 July to 15 January 2023
WHERE: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 108 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe, NM; Event Page
Shell carving, painting and sculptural textile work are just a few of the arts practiced by the educated, accomplished and versatile Muscogee mothers and daughters of the Fife family.
The Matrilineal: Legacies of Our Mothers exhibition at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, curated by Laura Marshall Clark (Mvskoke), honors the legacy of Mvskoke Creek’s matrilineal traditions and includes 50 works of art spanning three generations.
Although the Fifes are Muscogee from Oklahoma, they have strong ties to the Southwest, where their work is exhibited and celebrated.
Featured Fife family artists include matriarch Carmen Griffin Fife, a graduate of the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Oklahoma and the Santa Fe Indian School Arts and Crafts Teacher Training Program. , Carmen’s eldest daughter, Jimmie Carole Fife, who participated in the 1961 Southwest Indian Art Project at the university. of Arizona, and Carmen’s daughters Sandy Fife Wilson, Phyllis Fife and Phyllis’ daughter Shelley Patrick, all of whom are IAIA graduates.
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