What’s Happening in Indian Country Jan 21-28


This weekend and next week, Indian Country presents a beautiful mix of music and art, photography and sweet surprises.

The cultural mix includes a Tlingit creation story told through glass and sound, indigenous candy hearts to share with your lover, an interlude with an operatic and Oneida pottery expert, and majestic, healing imagery of a strong and striking Ojibwe superstar.

Native News online the event guide arrives to kick off this arty party. Check it out for a taste of all the good stuff.

Virtual Artist Talk with Jennifer Stevens

J SpotsOpera singer and Oneida potter Jennifer Stevens will participate in a Zoom Virtual Artist Discussion hosted by the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian Evanston, Illinois on Thursday, January 27. (Jennifer Stevens)WHEN: Thursday, January 27, 4 p.m.

OR: Zoom. Register here.

How do you create a career of equal parts Puccini and Oneida pottery?

You can discover how a passion for European arias and an ancient Indigenous art form can coexist in one dynamic woman when potter and Oneida-Oglala Lakota opera recitalist Jennifer Stevens talks about her fascinating life and work at a virtual artist discussion organized by the Mitchell Museum of American Indians.

Stevens is acutely aware of the apparent opposition between her two talents.

“These are two very different worlds. I have the authentic historical Native American side of me, and then I have this other side of me, where I was studying how to sing in Italian, French and German,” Stevens said. Indigenous News Online.

Stevens’ online discussion is the start of a new engagement between her and Mitchell. Stevens will teach the museum’s Saturday Cultural Workshops which will begin later this year.

As a renowned teacher and researcher of ancient Oneida pottery, Stevens revives a long-lost Oneida art. Stevens said the Oneida stopped making their utilitarian stone pottery in the late 1600s when they began trading with European settlers and switched to making kettles from the metals introduced by their new partners. commercial.

“A lot of people didn’t know that the east coast tribes even made pottery,” Stevens said. “The pots were used for cooking, for preserving food, but also for ceremonies. They were an integral part of our life. Our pottery was basically our sustenance.

“I research designs, recreate them, and produce these pots in the most authentic way possible. It’s about education and cultural preservation, which is really key,” said Stevens, who also does art. contemporary art. “I feel like my ancestors are with me when I create them. It’s a very beautiful experience. When I teach my students, I remind them that they are sacred objects. We work with our mother earth, we work with fire. These are all sacred elements for Native Americans. It’s in our culture.

As for his lyrical side, Stevens performs tunes from composers such as Puccini and Mozart, and also incorporates native culture into the classical mix.

In addition to performing modern opera works in Native American languages ​​by other composers, she writes and performs original music and lyrics, and has those lyrics translated into the Oneida and Lakota languages. She performed some of these pieces with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Historically, there are very few Native American opera singers, and almost none of them write their own music, let alone write opera,” Stevens said. “It’s not just me tearing myself away from the roots of my Native American culture and throwing myself into Europe and singing opera. I merge Native American culture with European culture through music. This is very fun. I want to share with other people that Native Americans are able to express themselves as authentically as possible through our art and music, even if it’s opera.

Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company at Crazy Horse MemorialMichelle Reed in Cowboys & Indians Magazine

MR2VisionsThis image of Ojibwe educator, dancer and artist Michelle Reed taken by Chad Coppess, won first place in the Native American category of Cowboy & Indians Magazine’s Visions of the West photography contest. Reed’s dance troupe, The Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company, will perform at the Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer, South Dakota on Saturday, January 29. (Chad Coppess)WHEN: Saturday, January 29, 4 p.m.

OR: Mad Horse Memorial, 12151 Chiefs Avenue, Custer, SD; Event Page.

In the aptly titled photo “Powerful Connections,” Ojibwe culture carrier Michelle Reed organically blends visually and spiritually with a hot pink mural of the Lakota Redbird warrior.

Taken last year in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, by Chad Coppess, South Dakota magazine’s photo editor, the image won the grand prize in Cowboys & Indians Magazine’s Visions of the West Photography Contest 2022.

For Reed, whose jubilant pink dress matches the mural perfectly, it’s the sweet grass in her hands that completes the picture of strength and healing.

“Holding this sweet herb – this medicine – was a really big part of the shot,” Reed said, a dancer, educator and artist, who travels the country to share her knowledge and skills, said Indigenous News Online. “And the jingle dress dance is a medicine dance, so the feeling of this photo was really powerful. Chad is an amazing photographer.

In addition to Reed and Coppess’ visual win, another photo of Reed atop a rock at Stockade Lake in the Black Hills won the Native American category of the contest. Both images are featured in the current issue.

This Saturday, visitors to the Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer, South Dakota can see Reed’s dynamic cultural work in action when the troupe she founded, the Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company, takes the stage at the Welcome Center Theatre.

The one-night-only show will feature Ojibwe, Lakota, Menominee, Potawatomi, Oneida and Apache dancers. The group represents Native American male and female styles, including traditional, fantasy, jingle, grass, forest and hoop, and this will be the first time Woodland Sky will tell stories through dance at the Memorial.

“It’s really incredible that the Crazy Horse Memorial welcomes artists from all over the world. People come to South Dakota to experience the beauty of the land there, the Black Hills,” Reed said. “It’s unlike any other place I’ve worked. We’ll take an extra day to visit their museum and see what it’s all about.”

Preston Singletary: Raven and the Daylight Box

RavenWhiteThe White Raven sculpture by Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary is part of the Singletary Raven and the Box of Daylight exhibit, which runs from January 28, 2022 through January 29, 2023 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC (Preston Simgletary) WHEN: From January 28 to January 29, 2023

OR: National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth St. & Independence Ave. SW, Washington D.C.; Event Page

In the Tlingit legend Raven and the Box of Daylight, the winged trickster of Southeast Alaska Native lore leads a transformation from light to dark by gifting the world with the sun, stars, and moon.

Raven’s cosmic contributions are central to Preston Single: Crow and the Daylight Box, a new multi-sensory glass experience at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The show transforms the story of creation into a spectacle for the eyes and ears, placing the dazzling glass pieces of internationally acclaimed Tlingit artist Singletary against an immersive, layered backdrop of storytelling, North Coast sounds and western Pacific, original music and projected images.

Click on here to hear Singletary discuss the exhibit and his career in a conversation hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian.

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The Truth About Indian Residential Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative, “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.” Our mission is to shed light on the dark era of forced assimilation of Native American children by the US government and churches. You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for live events to understand what the residential school era meant to Native Americans – and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free to everyone, but its production is not free. That’s why we’re asking you to donate this month to support our efforts. Any contribution, no matter how big or small, gives us a better and stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About the Author

Tamara Ikenberg
Author: Tamara IkenbergE-mail: This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tamara Ikenberg is a writer for Native News Online. It covers the tribes of the southwest as well as native arts, culture and entertainment. She can be reached at [email protected]


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