I had the honor to be the keynote speaker for National Native American Heritage Month celebrations at Wright State University, the Ohio National Guard, and Defiance College this month. At each venue I was impressed with the desire of the audiences to learn more about the indigenous peoples of the United States.
I was also interviewed by Michigan Public Radio for their program “Stateside with Cynthia Canty.” broadcast in Ann Arbor (the statewide NPR affiliate). Stateside includes a Michigan History Center (MHC) production of a weekly Michigan History segment. With November being Native American History month, the folks at the Michigan History Center and the station wanted to do a couple of history segments focusing on Native Michiganders. I joined Cynthia and the MHC’s Sandra Clark to discuss the story of Leopold Pokagon and how decisions he made in the 1800s still impact lives today. Here is a link to the program:
I also had the opportunity to participate in the symposium “Collaborative Curation of North American Human Remains.” at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago this month. Participants included museum professional and tribal nation representatives, as well as those like myself who have written about and/or engaged in repatriation efforts. While it was obvious to me that there is much work to yet be done to get everyone on the same page, I was heartened by the sincere effort that everyone made to listen to the views and suggestions of others. Special thanks to Helen Robbins from the Field Museum for inviting me!
It was my honor to co-curate with Marcus Boroughs an exhibit presenting the aesthetic beauty of tapa/ngatu weavings with block printed art reflecting iconic imagery of Oceania. It is quickly obvious that these artistic creations take a community to construct. A sense of connection, tradition, and pride fills the LeFevre Gallery at the Newark campus. The exhibit is free and open to the public until May 1, 2018.
“The Art of Ngatu: Tradition, Innovation and Community in Polynesia” comprises original artwork, traditional tapa (beaten bark cloth), photography, film, and ephemera. Exhibition content focuses on artists Dame Robin White (New Zealand) and Ruha Fifita (Tonga), their process and practice in Polynesia. Collaborating with communities of indigenous women, the artists use traditional methods to produce tapa while also incorporating innovation and contemporary narratives related to the history of Polynesian communities.” (From the prospectus.)
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has been a part of Chicago since its founding. In very public expressions of indigeneity, they have refused to hide in plain sight or assimilate. Instead, throughout the city’s history, the Pokagon Potawatomi Indians have openly and aggressively expressed their refusal to be marginalized or forgotten—and in doing so, they have contributed to the fabric and history of the city.
Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago examines the ways some Pokagon Potawatomi tribal members have maintained a distinct Native identity, their rejection of assimilation into the mainstream, and their desire for inclusion in the larger contemporary society without forfeiting their “Indianness.” Mindful that contact is never a one-way street, Dr. Low also examines the ways in which experiences in Chicago have influenced the Pokagon Potawatomi. Imprints continues the recent scholarship on the urban Indian experience before as well as after World War II.
After his talk, Dr. Low will sign copies of the book. Imprints will be available in the Newberry Bookstore; your purchase helps to support the Newberry Library and this program’s featured author.
John N. Low (Pokagon Potawatomi) is Assistant Professor of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University Newark, where his research and teaching encompass many aspects of American Indian histories, literatures, and cultures. He has previously served as Executive Director of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Indians of the Midwest Project at the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library, and on the State of Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force. He continues to serve as a member of his tribe’s Traditions & Repatriation Committee.
Northwestern University’s Multicultural Student Affairs, in partnership with the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance, has invited me to the 3rd Annual Native American and Indigenous Community Dinner on Sunday, May 7th, from 5pm-7pm. As a founding advisor and inspiration for the creation of NAISA. the student Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance, I have been asked to speak briefly at the celebration. The event will be located on the Evanston campus in Scott Hall’s Guild Lounge, 601 University Place.