Tag Archives: smithsonian

Listening to Our Ancestors: An exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian

Coast Salish Cod Lure. Source: NMAI

Listening to Our Ancestors” is a nice online exhibit which resulted from a process by which 11 west coast First Nations and Tribes came to the National Museum of the American Indian (a fairly recent, major addition to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.) and created mini-exhibits reflecting their own worldviews and the categories they deemed important.  As such, each community’s sub-page is a glimpse into their specific cultural heritage and priorities – indigenous curation, you could say.

While much of the focus is on ceremonial items, some communities also choose to focus some attention on their more everyday technology, which is more in line with my own interests.

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High Resolution Pictures from the Smithsonian

Cowichan Spindle Whorl, ©National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (15/8959)

Cowichan Spindle Whorl, ©National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (15/8959)

These seem to be squirreled away on the website in the “media releases” section at the Smithsonian! It is well worth getting the high-resolution images.  There is one solid, NWC art page here (from where the lovely Cowichan spindle whorl to the left is from)  but additionally here are high resolution pictures of:

an Alutiiq (Koniag) hunter’s hat, ca. 1950  Kodiak Island, Alaska (Spruce root, paint, glass beads, dentalium shells, wool cloth, sea lion whiskers National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution Image: 6/9253)

Quinalt woman’s dentalia breastplate ca. 1880 Washington state (Hide, dentalium shells, glass beads, cordage National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution Image: 2/7703)

Tlingit Rattle, ca. 1880 Alaska  (Alder or maple wood, hide National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution Image: 8/1650AQ)

Raven Steals the Sun (in blown glass! by Preston Singletary (Tlingit) Seattle, Washington, 2003)

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