Michigan State University

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MSU Museum Opens Native American Artwork Exhibition on International Museum Day, May 18

Celebrate International Museum Day with a new exhibition at the MSU Museum. Opening May 18, the exhibition “Kindred: Traditional Arts of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians” will be on view in the Main Gallery at the MSU Museum through July 30, 2022.

In partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the exhibition includes historic and contemporary examples of Odawa arts and crafts, including quill boxes, beadwork, regalia, basketry, and ceramics. Through these finely crafted objects, thematic threads are woven together to explore the economic drivers, environmental factors, and challenges inherent in sustaining tradition, creative practice, and identity in the 21st century. Many of the artifacts on display are part of the MSU Museum’s cultural collections.

Kindred: Traditional Arts of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians This exhibition expands on the MSU Museum’s recent community engagement initiative, Fostering Critical Conversations with Our Communities. In collaboration with Smithsonian Affiliations and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, the MSU Museum aspires to deepen relationships with Michigan’s Tribal communities through this capacity building program.

“As we embark upon activating our new strategic plan, we strive to become a more inclusive, equitable, and responsive institution,” said Devon Akmon, Director of the MSU Museum. “This exhibition is another important step towards advancing our collaborative, community-based work with Michigan’s Tribal communities.”

“Kindred” was co-curated by Liz Erlewine, visual arts director at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, and Eric Hemenway, Little Traverse Bay Bands director of repatriation, archives, and records. Almost all 160 pieces on display in the exhibition were created by residents who currently or previously lived in the Petoskey area.

“This exhibition is a robust introduction to the art and history of one of Michigan’s first peoples. We are excited to share the artwork and stories of the Waganakising Odawa with Michigan State University Museum audiences,” stated Crooked Tree Arts Center visual arts director Liz Erlewine.

In addition to the exhibition, there are educational programs planned throughout the duration of the exhibition with Native Americans and tribal members giving talks and demonstrations. For more details, please visit the MSU Museum website at museum.msu.edu

The opening of this exhibition coincides with the International Museum Day celebration on May 18. Each year since 1977, International Council of Museums (ICOM) has organized International Museum Day, which represents a unique moment for the international museum community. The objective of International Museum Day (IMD) is to raise awareness about the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Last year, more than 37,000 museums participated in the event in about 158 countries and territories.

Virtual Programs:

Tuesday, June 21, 2022
7:00-8:00 p.m.
The Kindred Exhibition: A Community and Museum Collaboration

Wednesday, July 6, 2022
7:00-8:00 p.m.
Building, Accessing, and Using Contemporary Anishinabe Collections of Michigan State University Museum

Wednesday July 20, 2022
7:00-8:30 p.m.
A Conversation with a Family of Contemporary Anishinabe Beadwork Artists: Stella Kay, Sidney Kay, Regina Brubaker-Carver, Vicki Lynn, and Becca Lynn

Tuesday, July 26, 2022
7:00-8:00 p.m.
A Conversation with Two Extraordinary Traditional Artists: Yvonne Walker Keshick and Renee “Wasson” Dillard