Posts tagged with "Native American"

Spiro illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Spiro Exhibition

Ancient Mysteries Revealed: Groundbreaking Spiro Exhibition to Debut at The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The Spiro site contained one of the greatest collections of prehistoric American Indian artifacts ever discovered in the United States.

The Spiro Mounds are one of the United States’ most important ancient Native American sites, as well as an archaeological find unmatched in modern times. Yet, despite creating a sophisticated ancient culture, the Spiro people are nearly forgotten in the pages of history books. How did these incredible works of art and other treasures from all over North America end up hidden for hundreds of years, and why? Opening February 12, 2021 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, “Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World” will seek to answer these questions and more in the first major presentation on the Spiro Mounds ever undertaken by a museum, representing the first, and possibly last, time these artifacts will be reunited from various collections across the country.

“We are incredibly pleased to announce this unparalleled exhibition, which will give proper honor and representation to the culture and historical impact of the Spiro people,” said Natalie Shirley, The Cowboy president and CEO. “Our staff has worked for years to create a world-class, exciting and collaborative presentation of a people who have been overlooked for too long.”

This exhibition will share the art, history and culture of the Spiro people through approx. 175 objects, as well as an accompanying publication, website, public symposium and panel discussion. It was created in collaboration with representatives from the Caddo and Wichita Nations, the descendants of the Spiroan people, and with contributions by 17 humanities scholars from nearly a dozen universities and museums from across the United States.

The Spiro Mounds were the location of one of the largest and longest episodes of looting at any American archaeological site in history—comparable to that of Mesa Verde in Colorado and, sadly, several others across the country. Both looting and New Deal/Works Progress Administration (WPA) archaeological excavations came together in a near-perfect storm at Spiro. In 1935, the public’s imagination was peaked when the Kansas City Star called the site’s discovery a “King Tut’s Tomb in the Arkansas Valley,” and identified it as the greatest source of Mississippian iconographic material ever found. Embossed copper plates, wooden sculptures, thousands of pearls and beads, large human effigy pipes and engraved shell gorgets and cups are just some of the items found at Spiro. In fact, nearly 90% of all known engraved shell created during the Mississippian period (900 – 1650 AD) was discovered at this one site. This exhibition will include the reunification of a range of items looted and archaeologically excavated at Spiro that have not been together since the early 1930s and 1940s.

“The quality and quantity of material found at Spiro is unprecedented,” said Eric Singleton, Ph.D., Museum Curator of Ethnology. “We are grateful to have the support of the Spiroan descendants, the Caddo Nation and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, as we prepare this exhibition. Without them, this exhibition would not be possible.”

The Spiroan people, along with other Mississippian groups across the eastern half of North America, created a world equal to that of the Aztec, Maya or Inca, consisting of trade networks and highly developed social, political and religious centers. The exhibition will explore the archaeology and history of Spiro and its relationship to other contemporaneous Indigenous communities in North and Central America, highlighting community development, religious and ceremonial activities, farming and hunting practices and daily life. It will also illustrate how ecological factors, specifically the occurrence of the “Little Ice Age” beginning in 1350 AD and lasting until 1650 AD may have led to the site’s decline and ultimate abandonment. The exhibition also showcases contemporary Indigenous art pieces that explore the ideas of origin and connect the art and artistry of the Spiro people to their modern descendants.

Following the exhibition, the online component and educational materials will be available on the Museum’s website and in our permanent Native American gallery. In addition, the Museum will give both the Caddo and Wichita Nations all interpretative materials to use at their discretion in their respective tribal museums.

The exhibition will debut at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum February 12 – May 9, 2021, before traveling to the Birmingham Museum of Art (October 5, 2021 – March 11, 2022) in Birmingham Alabama, and the Dallas Museum of Art (April 15, 2022 – August 5, 2022), in Dallas Texas.

Visit Spiro Mounds for more information, including photos, maps and a calendar of associated programming.

The Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World has been made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce Foundation, as well as support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. For more information, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a COVID-19 Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Native Peoples’ Perspectives Toward COVID-19 Vaccine

Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) released a study with the first-ever national data regarding American Indian and Alaska Native peoples’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about a COVID-19 vaccine.

The study surveyed American Indians and Alaska Natives across 46 states—representing 318 different tribal affiliations—to gather information ranging from individuals’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to the hurdles they face in accessing healthcare and resources.

“This data will be important to all organizations conducting COVID-19 vaccine education efforts,” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, director of UIHI. “Native communities have unique challenges and needs that usually are not considered in public health campaigns.”

American Indian and Alaska Native people continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates are 3.5 and 1.8 times that of non-Hispanic Whites, respectively.

While there has been worry about vaccine participation in Native communities, 75% of study participants claimed they would be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, higher than the national average according to an Ipsos survey from October 2020, which indicates that 64% of the U.S. general population was willing to receive a vaccine.

“Willingness to receive a vaccine and hesitancy are not mutually exclusive,” said Echo-Hawk. “Fear and distrust of government and medical systems still exist in our community, which are hurdles that we have to overcome.”

Echo-Hawk hopes the report can start to create a better understanding of the unique perspectives of Native people.

“The data indicates that most Native people willing to be vaccinated feel it is their responsibility for the health of their community,” Echo-Hawk said. “This shows what motivates our community when it comes to decision-making.”

Report key findings:

  • 75% of participants were willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 74% of participants claimed that getting vaccinated is their responsibility to their community.
  • 89% of participants wanted evidence that the vaccine is safe right now and in the long term.
  • 39% of all participants reported difficulty traveling to their clinic for an appointment.
  • Two-thirds of participants willing to get vaccinated were confident that COVID-19 vaccines were adequately tested for safety and effectiveness among Native people.
  • 75% of participants willing to get vaccinated had concerns about potential side effects.
  • 25% of participants were unwilling to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 90% of participants unwilling to get vaccinated recognized COVID-19 as a serious disease.
  • 89% of participants unwilling to get vaccinated had concerns about potential side effects.
Melvin Sampson illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Remembering Melvin Sampson

By Hannah DiPilato

Melvin Sampson was a leader throughout his life and was dedicated to fighting for the rights of indigenous people. Before his passing, he was a tribal councilman that pushed for Native American’s rights. 

Some of his most monumental efforts include helping to establish the Indian National Finals Rodeo, assisting in the improvement of health care for Native Americans across the nation, advocating for the construction of the Yakama Nation Indian Health Services clinic west of Toppenish and pushing to improve fish restoration in the Yakima and Columbia basins.

Sampson passed in his home on December 11 at 82-years-old and left behind his wife, Betty Jean and his four daughters. He will be remembered by his big family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Sampson’s full obituary can be found on Heggies Colonial Funeral Home’s website and anyone is able to leave thoughts, prayers and condolences for Sampson’s loved ones. People can also send flowers or a virtual gift and share photos and videos, a beautiful way to share remembrance amidst the pandemic. 

“He’s bigger than the Yakama Nation,” said Yakama General Council Chairman Roger Fiander, who grew up beside Sampson. “Besides that, he was my roping partner.”

Sampson’s legacy of helping to gain rights for Native Americans will live on for generations. Hopefully, many more people will follow in his footsteps to preserve tribal culture. 

Sampson was an advocate of better healthcare for Native Americans for 17 years while he served on the National Indian Health Board. He also helped form the Portland Area Indian Health Board, which monitors the federal administration of Indian health services in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. 

In Washington D.C., Sampson was at the head of an effort to gain funding for a new Indian Health Clinic. Eventually, his efforts led to an expansion of the clinic which expanded it into a facility of over 80,000 square feet. 

Sampson also wanted to improve fish rearing practices in the Yakama and Columbia basins in order to help the fish that lived there. With Sampson in charge, the Yakama Nation gained control of the Klickitat Hatchery which is found on the Klickitat river outside of Glendale. This hatchery was designed to rebuild the population of salmon by mimicking the natural habitat system that fish thrive in. 

Everyone that knew Sampson believed he was a born leader. He had a diverse understanding of tribal culture and government which allowed him to make many changes in his lifetime. George Waters, a lobbyist for the tribe in Washington, D.C., said that Sampson was just a person able to operate in different worlds. 

He was able to create many amazing things such as doing leatherwork and beginning a shop in his basement. Sampson can also be remembered for his forward-thinking ways that were ahead of his time. 

Irving Pinkham, another childhood friend of Sampson, said that Sampson cared for everyone and always wanted to help indigenous people. “In our way, nobody is better than anyone else and that’s what he believed too,” Pinkham said. “He never was a person who said ‘I, I did this, I did that.’ He was always a person who said ‘We, we did this, we did that.’ “

Sampson’s perseverance and ability to understand people helped him become a success in many aspects of his life. He was able to improve healthcare and the way of life for those around him and his legacy will be seen in all of the work he accomplished over his lifetime.

Marvel's Indigenous Voices

Marvel’s Indigenous Voices

Marvel announced a new, special series of variant covers written and drawn by the comic book industry’s biggest indigenous artists for MARVEL’S VOICES: INDIGENOUS VOICES #1.

One of the artists included in the project is Jeffrey Veregge, who recently finished an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Veregge will provide the art for covers featuring characters like Black Panther, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

Veregge said his own people, the S’Klallam Tribe, have used an art style known as Formline to tell their stories for generations. He added that his style is an extension of the art he has seen used by Native artists from his region.

“As a lifelong comic fan, artist and Native American, I am truly honored to work with Marvel Comics today. Not only to create pieces that represent a voice for Indigenous People in honor of Native American Heritage month, but also for the opportunity to share the same storytelling spirit of my ancestors by sharing the tales of some of today’s heroes,” Veregge said.

These variant covers will be available in comic book shops in November, and you can see each and every one of them right here.

Octavia Spencer illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Octavia Spencer × Ruderman Family Foundation

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer today joined the Ruderman Family Foundation in calling on the entertainment industry to increase the casting of people with disabilities, including in on-screen roles that portray characters with disabilities.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Octavia Spencer says in a new public service announcement with the Ruderman Family Foundation

Appearing in a newly released public service announcement, Spencer recounts Hollywood’s long history of inauthentic representation and exclusion of marginalized populations — from men playing women until 1660; to white actors playing Black, Asian, and Native American characters; to LGBTQ stories getting left out of film and television until the last two decades.

“All of these communities of people had to endure not only their stories being told inauthentically, but also seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically,” says Spencer in a message filmed for the Ruderman Family Foundation. “But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities as well. Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

She continues, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

Spencer’s call amplifies the Foundation’s series of initiatives to foster greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Last December, the organization circulated an open letter calling on studio, production, and network executives to pledge to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to make more inclusive casting decisions. Among those who signed the pledge were Oscar winners George Clooney and Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar nominees Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Glenn Close, Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly, accomplished actress Eva Longoria, and acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Farrelly.

A separate Foundation-initiated pledge to commit to auditioning more actors with disabilities was signed by CBS, while the BBC pledged to implement more authentic and distinctive representation of people with disabilities on screen. The Foundation also released a white paper showing that half of U.S. households want accurate portrayals of characters with disabilities, and despite that only 22% of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television.

“As an Oscar-winning actor, Octavia Spencer embodies Hollywood’s vast potential to serve as a powerful catalyst for positive social change if studio, production, and network executives commit to more inclusive and authentic representation,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Ms. Spencer has joined our call and we look forward to have other actors and actresses, filmmakers, producers and studios continue to create unprecedented momentum that brings about greater casting of people with disabilities.”

To view Octavia Spencer’s video message in full, please see here.

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Oklahoma Map illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Native American Rights Win in Court

By Eamonn Burke

In a major win for Native American rights, the Supreme Court decided in a ruling yesterday that roughly half of the state of Oklahoma are Native American conservation lands. The case was brought about by a convicted rapist named Jimcy McGirt, a member of the Seminole nation, who claimed that he could not be prosecuted by the state of Oklahoma because the assault occurred on lands claimed by the Muscogee Creek Nation.

Although the federal government can still prosecute the people of this land – about 1.8 million in population (15% Native American) and 3 million acres in size – they are protected from the state and may even be exempt from state taxes.

It was Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, who tipped the 5-4 vote to the liberals, citing the Trail of Tears as precedent and reasoning that “Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.” Tribal leaders of the Five Tribes of Oklahoma favored the ruling. Republican Chief Justice John Roberts, however, believes that the decision will damage the Oklahoma state court’s authority.

The 71 year old McGirt accused of raping a young girl in 1997 was spared of a prison sentence but could still be tried in federal court.