Brooke Olson and Jack Rossen (anthropology) brought eight students to Washington D.C. for the emotional grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on September 21.
The group was accompanied by Seneca elder and veteran Wayne Keemer (Bear Clan). The occasion was marked by a procession of representatives of 550 Native Nations, along with hundreds of musical and dance performances on the Washington mall.
The stunning performances by the Hawaiians and Maori of New Zealand were an excellent preview for students on the trip who will also be participating in the IC Winter Intersession anthropology field class in Hawaii.
An atmosphere of Native cultural vitality and reconciliation permeated the large crowd. The students toured the museum, which is curated by Native people and designed to convey their messages of struggle, survival, and revitalization. The magnificent exhibits highlight the beauty, community, and spirituality of present-day Native peoples throughout the Americas, without shying away from controversial issues and the darker side of history.
One Native person commented, "This is the best thing that has happened to Native people in 500 years."
Students were funded through the anthropology department and its Janet Fitchen Fund.
Contributed by Jack Rossen