Thursday, July 22, 2010

Phoenix - Heard Museum

Chuck and I have had an interesting visit to the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
The "Heard Museum of native Cultures and Ar" was founded in 1929 by Dwight B and Maie Bartlett Heard to house their personal collection of American Indian artifacts and art. The brochure says: "The museum has earned a national and international repotation for its thorough and sensitive representation of Native cultures and heritage, ezpecially in the southwest." All true.

We learned a lot today. First of all we learned that there are so many more Indian tribes than we ever knew. As we read their stories and saw artifacts from the different tribes there were always these similarities - people who lived close to the land who were pushed off by Europeans, Spanish, Canadians. The story was all the same. farmland taken away, water re routed, their way of life gone.

We learned about Indian children being taken away (kidnapped, really) to go to boarding schools where they were not allowed to speak their language or even keep their birth names. Instead they were given a new name, new clothes, and a new way of living. There were stories about tribes being sent to detention camps and just moved away from home. On a summer of memory trips - it is helpful to remember that not all of our history - either personal or national - is comfortable.

At the same time, we learned about a simpler way of life and saw the amazing beadwork, pottery, carvings that these people did. We went on a tour and learned not only about the way that some items were made - but the way they are still being used. And I found myself thinking about the whole nature of creativity and how people want to tell the story of their lives in so many ways - and often art is the most satisfying.

Chuck is here and I asked for his comment on our visit and he said - "It (the museum) was outstanding. We raped the Indians - we put people in reservations that did not deserve it." I think it raised his consciousness (?)

So, I guess you could say that this was a pretty good way for us to spend a Thursday in Phoenix (106 degrees - it was air conditioned!)

1 comment:

ELYSSA said...

That sounds like a great museum. Alex would like it since his great great grandmother was 100% Cherokee.