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  • Grammy-winner Bill Miller to perform concert at Eiteljorg Museum April 5

    by Bryan Corbin, editor, Storyteller magazine | Jan 31, 2018
    Bill Miller image

    A powerful singer-songwriter, Bill Miller is known for his percussive guitar style and intense vocals. His Native American flute-playing has earned him Grammy awards. Drawing upon his Mohican heritage, Miller sings poignantly about his Native experience, combining traditional singing styles of northern tribes with classic rock, gospel, blues and Native flute. Highly admired in music circles, Miller has performed on the same stages with Pearl Jam, Tori Amos and Arlo Guthrie, and participated in a Johnny Cash documentary and tribute album.

    To hear an artist of Miller’s virtuosity perform live is a real treat. Eiteljorg visitors can experience his concert at a free event starting at 7 p.m. April 5 at the museum. Miller’s performance is part of an evening that begins with a fascinating panel discussion about an IUPUI professor’s project to revive Mohican-language hymns that almost were lost to history.

    Interwoven into Bill Miller’s songs is the history of Mohican and other tribal cultures and his own family story. His song “Love Sustained” is about his mother, who raised nine children on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation near Green Bay, Wisconsin, amid his father’s battles with alcoholism. During his 35-year music career, Miller has produced more than a dozen albums, performed across North America, toured with national acts in the 1990s and built up a social-media following. As a musician he has connected with audiences of many cultures and faiths. “I’ve had unlikely alliances with people who you’d never think I’d be influenced by,” he said.

    Miller also has lived through recent personal tragedies, including deaths of his mother and adult son, and his own near-fatal illness and heart surgery. Now touring again, he remains passionate about musical excellence. “I’m playing on a different level, spiritually. I’m very confident in what I do. I don’t have a doubt anymore,” Miller said.

    Historical detective story

    The spiritual dimension of Bill Miller’s songs has won over many fans, including Rachel Wheeler, Ph.D., religious studies professor at IUPUI. She first heard Miller in 2001 during research into missionaries who worked among Mohicans in the 1700s. Her research compared a Congregational (Puritan) mission in Miller’s ancestral community of Stockbridge, Mass., to a German Moravian mission in a nearby Mohican community.

    In the Moravian church archives in Bethlehem, Pa., Wheeler found lyrics of 18th century hymns, written in the Mohican language. Moravian records provided glimpses into the lives of Mohican communities of centuries ago, before their removal from the Hudson River Valley and New England to Indiana and eventually Wisconsin, where the tribe is based today.

    Wheeler sought to recreate the Mohican hymns, but the project faced huge obstacles: the Mohican hymn tradition disappeared, the last fluent Mohican speakers died in the 1930s and the rediscovered lyrics lacked sheet music. Wheeler collaborated with Sarah Eyerly, Ph.D., Florida State University musicology professor, who located the original music in Germany and matched up lyrics with hymn tunes. Mohican composer Brent Michael Davids developed arrangements of the hymns that modern choir singers can perform. Exactly how the Mohican hymns sounded in the 1700s is not known; but through the team’s reverse engineering, the hymns again can be sung in Moravian musical styles. Bill Miller is working on new music rooted in Native music traditions to go with the Mohican-authored lyrics.

    Miller’s own recordings explore Christianity and Native spirituality. At the April 5 event, during the panel discussion with Wheeler, Eyerly and others, Miller plans to debut new music for the Mohican hymns, followed by a concert of his own material. “I think it’s a beautiful circle of me coming into my own heritage with my faith,” he said of the collaboration. “What I want this project to be as far as my connection to it is to add my spirit voice to it.”

    DETAILS:

    Mohican Songs of the Spirit
    Eiteljorg Museum’s Clowes Court

    Thursday April 5
    7 p.m.

    Panel discussion with Dr. Rachel Wheeler, Dr. Sarah Eyerly, Bill Miller and others.
    8 p.m.
    Concert by singer-songwriter, fine-art painter and activist Bill Miller.

    Free Admission

    Sponsored by:
    IUPUI American Indian Programs
    IUPUI Department of Religious Studies
    Spirit & Place
    American Council of Learned Societies
    Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

    IUPUI AIP Logo















    IUPUI Religious Studies logo



    Spirit & Place Festival logo






    This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 





  • Celebrate Native American Heritage Month at the Eiteljorg

    by Alisa Nordholt-Dean | Oct 23, 2017

    Mario Martinez_Conversation

    November is National Native American Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than by visiting the Eiteljorg. Peruse the museum galleries, join in a curator tour, see Native Art Now! and meet two incredibly talented Native artists visiting Indianapolis to inspire visitors and showcase their beadwork skills. Here is a sampling of what’s in store for November.

    Curator’s Choice Tour:
    Cut Fold, and Sew: The Miami, Potawatomi and Delaware Arts of Ribbonwork with Dr. Scott Shoemaker, the Thomas G. and Susan C. Hoback curator of Native American art, history and culture. Nov. 3 at noon.

    Native Art Now! 
    Don’t miss this exhibit of iconic contemporary Native art from the Eiteljorg’s permanent collection. Opens Nov. 11.

    Karen Ann HoffmanArtist in Residence: Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida)
    Award-winning artist Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautifully decorative pieces using Iroquois raised beadwork. Her work has been displayed across the nation and is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Wisconsin Historical Museum and other institutions. Meet Karen and learn about her art and culture during open studio sessions on Nov. 11, 18 and 25. She will also teach a brooch-making workshop on Nov. 22.


    Katrina MittenArtist in Residence: Katrina Mitten (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma)
    Beadwork artist Katrina Mitten creates embroidery-style beadwork traditional to Native peoples of the Great Lakes. She has won numerous awards for her work over the years and her pieces can be seen in museums around the nation. On Nov. 24 and 25, meet Katrina, learn about her Miami culture, and watch as she demonstrates beadwork techniques.

    Visit www.eiteljorg.org/explore/calendar for the latest information about art-making events and opportunities to meet artists.

     

    Image caption for Native Art Now! image at top:

    Mario Martinez (Pascua Yaqui, born 1953)
    The Conversation, 2004
    Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
    Museum Purchase: Eiteljorg Fellowship

     

    This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Storyteller magazine.

     





  • Artistry and Excellence: A conversation with Betsy Theobald Richards about Native Art Now!

    by Bryan Corbin, editor, Storyteller magazine | Oct 23, 2017

    Betsy Theobald RichardsTo lead the dialogue at a convening of scholars and top contemporary Native artists, the Eiteljorg has selected a nationally known art and social justice expert: Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee Nation). With two decades of experience in philanthropy, arts education, advocacy and theater directing and producing, Richards served at the Pequot Museum and Ford Foundation and now is program director for The Opportunity Agenda. With a passion for Native art (her aunt is the renowned artist Kay WalkingStick), Richards designed the format of the facilitated conversations she will lead at Native Art Now! on Nov. 11-12 that will examine the future of contemporary Native art.

    Storyteller magazine recently interviewed Richards about the program, and her comments are lightly edited for space:

    On why she designed the format of the Native Art Now! gathering of artists and scholars to include facilitated roundtable discussions:
    “I put the suggestion out there that (the Eiteljorg) might want to try something I had tried at one of my biggest convenings called ‘Creative Change’ . . . which was how to take a large group of incredibly talented, visionary folks, and have them have a dialogue. That isn’t what we normally have, which is panels where four people sit up on the dais and talk at people and take questions. I tried to help design a format that will allow people to have dialogue among themselves, to have thought leaders for folks that begin conversations; but that the conversation then becomes owned by the group.”

    On what insights she expects participants will gain from the facilitated dialogue with artists:
    “What I hope is to get everybody thinking to create a space where people can think as big as possible about the future. Not just, ‘Five years from now we should have this program or two more exhibitions in a year,’ not just the tactics or mechanical outcomes, but really have time for some dreaming. Dreaming is a very powerful thing.”

    On the challenges that contemporary Native artists face today that will provide context for the discussions:
    “Contemporary Native art is contemporary art . . . Often contemporary Native art is sidelined. Some people are interested in historical or ethnographic pieces; but our artists are living treasures. They deserve to make a living . . . We should all appreciate the artistry and the excellence of these contemporary artists.”

    On the key points that should be conveyed to funders about the importance of supporting contemporary Native art:
    “We forget as Americans that we are on Native land and that our Indigenous cultures are an asset, something very special to this country. I think that we need to start understanding — not just funders, but America in general — what an incredible asset of our heritage and our future that our Native cultures are. And one of the most visible and powerful ways to exhibit our living cultures is through our art . . . We are living cultures, and these artists are upholding our living cultures in magnificent ways just as our ancestors did . . . If funders and the general public want to support Native communities, one of the many ways is to support Native culture (through art). Also, Native art is cool. I think people need to buy some Native art.”

    On her social justice work and how that relates to the convening of Fellowship artists:
    “A lot of my work is around incorporating art, culture, pop culture and media into the work of social change. And I have continued in my work in Indian Country and am as dedicated as ever to Native American art and culture; and hopefully I’ll be bringing the skills that I’ve learned, both around facilitation and around how to advance a dialogue, to this convening.”

    NATIVE ART NOW!
    OPENING CELEBRATION AND CONVENING
    SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

    SATURDAY, NOV 11
    Artists and scholars will convene for a dialogue led by Betsy Theobald Richards about contemporary Native art. The morning and afternoon events and lunch together are $30 per person or $15 for students.
    10 a.m. to noon: Facilitated discussion
    Noon to 1 p.m.: Buffet lunch
    1–3 p.m.: Preview of clips from the Native Art Now! documentary followed by roundtable discussions.
    5–9 p.m.: Native Art Now! exhibit opening celebration. This evening event is $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers.

    SUNDAY, NOV 12
    10:30 a.m. to noon: Fellowship artists convening led by Betsy Theobald Richards. The Eiteljorg Fellows will deliberate on the Fellowship to help forge its future. This event is included with general admission and the public is invited to attend, but please register.

    To register to attend any of the events, contact Mary Whistler at 317.275.1316 or mwhistler@eiteljorg.com by Nov. 3 or log onto www.eiteljorg.org/NativeArtNow.

    Kay WalkingStick -- Wallawa Memory

    Image caption:

    Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Nation)
    Wallowa Memory, 2003
    Lithograph
    Gift: Courtesy of the artist

    Photograph of Betsy Theobald Richards is courtesy of The Opportunity Agenda.

    This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Storyteller magazine.





  • Perspective: Every Second Monday in October and Why Not Indigenous Peoples Day?

    by Dorene Red Cloud, assistant curator of Native American art | Oct 09, 2017

    This week of October 9, 2017, will consist of many reminders about one of my least favorite historical figures, Christopher Columbus. For instance, today is Columbus Day observed. Then this Thursday October 12, 2017, it will be the actual 525th anniversary of Columbus arriving, lost, on the shores of the Bahamas. And I have already seen countless advertisements of Columbus Day sales for mattresses, department stores, and what have you, and I can tell you, I am not inspired to shop. And I like to shop!

    Every Columbus Day, observed and actual, I wear all black clothing for it is a day of mourning, in my opinion. Backed by Spain (although he was Italian), Columbus (born Cristoforo Colombo) was in search of a trade route to the Far East. When he arrived in the Caribbean, he believed he had “discovered” India, so he monikered the people (who had welcomed this stranger politely), “Indians.” Because these people were not Christianized, Columbus, during each trip to what is now called Central and South America, claimed the land and resources for Spain. 

    Speaking of resources, Columbus wanted the gold that he saw the people wearing so he began to demand it — and over a short period of time — more and more of it. He invented methods to punish the people who did not procure enough gold in ways I do not care to elaborate. But I can tell you this much, I never wear gold in memoriam of all of the Indigenous people who were tortured and killed for this gold lust.

    Until that time, gold had mainly been collected from the Ivory Coast of Africa. Due to Columbus’ new system of supply and demand, the “idea” of trading slaves from Africa to replace the decreasing gold supply (and thereby create a new market), occurred. Thus, the introduction of transatlantic slavery was born.

    Did you know that Columbus never landed on North American soil and that Columbus Day was not an official federal government holiday until 1937?  So why do we continue to honor Columbus whose influence introduced disease, rape, and massacre, or, the colonization of the Americas? 

    I want to pay homage to the cities in the U.S. whose citizens voted that they would rather observe a celebration honoring Indigenous Peoples Day and not Christopher Columbus. Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Berkeley, California, Phoenix, Arizona; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Asheville, North Carolina; and Ann Arbor, Michigan, are some of the cities that no longer observe Columbus Day. And, who, in my humble opinion, totally rock for taking a stand to say “no, we will no longer celebrate a harbinger of death and colonial figure!”

    For many reasons, it behooves us to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.  Despite the millions of Indigenous peoples who perished as a result of contact with Europeans who travelled to all of the Americas after 1492, we Indigenous peoples are still here.  In the U.S., we are 4 million-strong and growing. There are still several millions of Indigenous peoples in Central and South America too, despite history recording these peoples as Latin Americans. Most of you know and are friends with Indigenous peoples, and we have a lot to offer to not only this country, but to the entire world.

    So the true celebration is in our resiliency and survival, our strength and perseverance, and our sense of humor and personalities.  There are so many, many reasons to retire Columbus, ceremonially and officially. So please join me in greeting one another today (and on Thursday, Oct. 12) with “Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!”

    Dorene Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota) wrote this opinion piece for the Eiteljorg blog.





  • Indian Market and Festival 2015 |Traditional Hopi Piki Bread

    by Debi Lander | Jun 25, 2015
    As Indian Market and Festival draws near, we’d like to tell you about some of the things we’re extra excited about.

     
    Number 1: The 1491s
    Number 2: Twin Rivers 
    Number 3: Down Feathers and Masks! 
    Number 4: Stories!
    Number 5: Buck! 
    and...
    Number 6: Traditional Hopi Piki Bread!

    We are thrilled that Iva Honyestewa (Hopi) will be doing Piki Bread making demonstrations throughout the weekend of Indian Market and Festival, June 27-28. You can also catch Navajo Frybread and Miami Acorn Flatbread demos. piki 1 
    What do you need to know about Piki Bread?

    By Debi Lander of http://bylanderseafood.blogspot.com/

    Piki bread is a traditional staple of the Hopi people and the ancient New Mexico Pueblo peoples. The dry, thin rolled bread truly melts in your mouth and tastes delicious. The technique used to make the featherweight thin bread is difficult to master and has been passed down from mothers to daughters for generations. I had the privilege of watching Iva Honyestewa make the authentic recipe in her own piki house on the Hopi lands in Arizona.

    Piki takes several days to make from scratch but Iva started her preparations beforehand by grinding blue cornmeal down to a fine powder and obtaining culinary ash from burnt juniper trees. 

    piki 2
    She began by lighting a fire of cedar wood below her stone cook top.  
    piki 4
    Then, she mixed the grayish blue cornmeal with hot water and added the ash through a fine sieve. The mush looked like sticky play dough, but she continued adding more water to make it thinner. 

     piki 6

    Iva eventually used her hand to finish mixing. 

    piki 7
    Next, she brushed her stone with oil (traditionally oily sheep brains) and ran her hand on top to check the heat.

     

    piki 8

    The thin batter was then hand smeared over the stone into a translucent layer. Iva repeatedly dipped her fingers in the batter to cover any holes and smooth out the layer. The batter bakes instantly and in a very short time becomes dry enough to lift or peel off.  Iva then transferred the near weightless cooked sheet of bread to her table.

     piki 10

    When three or four wafer thin layers are baked and stacked, they are folded and wrapped together. If necessary, they are placed back on the stone for a few seconds to reheat before folding. 

     

    piki 11

    The finished roll is placed in the basket. The entire recipe requires about 3-4 hours work to complete.

    Be sure to stop by to visit Iva as she makes Piki Bread during Indian Market and Festival. For more information about what’s happening Indian Market weekend, and to purchase advance sale tickets, visit Indian Market & Festival info

    Special thanks to Debi Lander for permission to use this blog post.

    For the original post, visit the blog By ~ Lander ~ Sea Food Tales

    ------

    Before the kick-off of Indian Market, the Eiteljorg will host two parties Friday, June 26 – the official IMF Preview Party and the AfterGlow party featuring the 1491s and DJ Kyle Long.

    Preview Party Details
    5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Price: $90/members $100/non-members
    An exclusive first-look shopping opportunity and reception. Attendees get free weekend passes to Indian Market and Festival.

    IMF AfterGlow
    9 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    Price: Free for AGAVE members and $15/non-members and non-Indian Market and Festival Preview Party attendees
    Grab a glow stick and join us for beverages, dancing, desserts and entertainment by the 1491s and DJ Kyle Long. Interact with artists in a relaxed setting along the canal and underneath The Sails of the Eiteljorg. Call (317) 275-1333 to make reservations.

    Time, Tickets and Parking
    - Indian Market and Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in White River State Park’s Military Park, just north of the museum in downtown Indianapolis.

    - Discounted advanced tickets for the event are on sale at the Eiteljorg Museum, on the museum’s website and Marsh Supermarkets or by calling 1-800-622-2024.

    - Advance sale tickets are $10. Tickets during the market are $12 at the gate. Kids 17 and under are FREE. Admission to the Eiteljorg is included.

    - White River State Park underground garage next to the Eiteljorg Museum and IUPUI parking lots across from Military Park provides the most convenient and inexpensive parking for this event. Shuttles to and from the museum are available.

    -Parking in the White River State Park garage will not be validated Indian Market weekend.

    For even more information about what’s happening Indian Market weekend, and to purchase advance sale tickets, visit Indian Market & Festival info.

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