The Diné are resilient people and know how to adapt to hardship. Before Euro-American contact, the Diné wore deerskin clothing. As Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers came to Navajo land and introduced new materials, Diné art and culture evolved.
Over the course of her Anne Ray internship, Emily Santhanam dove deep into the collections, approaching the objects through registration, collections management, education, and curation work. Each project taught her to navigate Native American arts stewardship in a new way. Yet what she most enjoyed was creating an online exhibition about the bolo ties cared for by the IARC.
This winter, IARC collections staff and interns, journeyed to Oklahoma to share with community members one of the most storied textiles in the IARC collection – the Chief White Antelope Blanket (CWAB). The Annual Gathering of the Sand Creek Descendants, held in Apache, Oklahoma, brought out between 200 and 300 people for dancing, food, and to pay tribute to the blanket. For some attendees, it was their first time to see this historic blanket. Learn more about this important piece and the continued collaborative collections-care approach taken by the IARC staff for this textile.
“We were honored to bring the blanket back to be a part of this important gathering,” says IARC collections manager, Lisa Barerra. “Since the mid-1990s,” she adds, “the IARC at SAR has worked closely with the Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust (SCMDT) regarding care and access to the blanket, including an agreement to bring the blanket for the gathering every two years. However, the last time the CWAB went back was actually in December 2014. While the CWAB is currently not on display (at the request of the SCMDT), an approved photograph of the blanket is available for viewing at IARC.” The photograph can be viewed during an IARC collections tour and requests to view the actual blanket require written permission from the SCMDT to do so. Reflecting on the trip and the collaborative efforts happening at the IARC, Harerra notes, “We look forward to continuing to work together with the SCMDT in the future!”
SAR members Russ and Diane Kyncl share the fifty-year story of how they became friends with the Edaakie family of Zuni Pueblo, how the late potter Timothy Edaakie helped them to connect with SAR, and why they decided to include SAR in their legacy plan.
Last week, we lost two members of our SAR family. On Sunday, February 14, Art Wolf, the first curator of collections for the Indian Arts Research Center passed away. Just a few days later, 2006 Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native artist fellow Christine McHorse also began her journey into the next world. Read more about their work and legacies.
With the nation’s social and political turmoil as well as an ongoing pandemic, 2020 revealed how now more than ever the perspectives of social science scholars and Native American artists matter. In today’s post, we reflect on the last year and invite you to join us for online programs in the new year.
Venancio Aragon is the SAR 2020 Rollin and Mary Ella King Native artist fellow. If you ever meet Venancio, you will notice his friendly demeanor and willingness to chat. He is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and what I would consider an award-winning master weaver, although he describes himself as “a humble practitioner of an ancient art.” Along with being an artist, he is also an intellectual, knowledge holder, and student.
In honor of Veterans Day, the Indian Arts Research Center shares the work of acclaimed Diné (Navajo) painter, Beatien Yazz.
SAR Indian Arts Research Center staff members reflect on their favorite pieces from the collections. Read about the basket selected by IARC registrar Jennifer Day.
SAR Indian Arts Research Center staff members reflect on their favorite pieces from the collection. Read on about these unique earrings selected by former IARC collections manager Lisa H. Barrera.