The D’Arcy McNickle Center for American and Indigenous Studies is pleased to announce several collaborations with Indigenous communities set for this fall 2017 and winter 2018. Under the leadership of interim director Susan Sleeper-Smith, a tenured professor at Michigan State University, and with the support of program coordinator Patrick Rochford, the McNickle Center will bring Indigenous scholars and leaders to the Newberry for both scholarly presentations and community-related programs.
On November 15, the McNickle Center Seminar hosted Chris Pappan, an artist of Kanza, Osage, and Dakota descent who presented an overview of his work and discuss his exhibit, “Drawing on Tradition” at the Field Museum. Chris is a nationally recognized painter and ledger artist whose works are housed in major museums and private collections worldwide. Following Chris’s presentation, the seminar will then meet the first Tuesday of each month through the academic year to hear from both creative artists as well as scholars in the field of Indigenous Studies.
The McNickle Center recently initiated an Indigenous Film Series, in coordination with Ernest M. Whiteman III (Northern Arapaho), who directs The First Nations Film and Video Festival. Film screenings will take place on the second Saturday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. We began on November 10 with “Choctaw Code Talkers” and “Honor Riders,” in honor of Veteran’s Day. These initial films honor America’s Indigenous warriors who have fought in the United States armed forces in the past and continue to serve in the present. The next screenings will be on Saturday, December 8, featuring “Barking Water” and “Woman Who Returns.”
The McNickle Center is also supporting the work of Chicago’s American Indian Community Collaborative, which has representatives from thirteen Indigenous organizations who work directly with Chicago’s American Indian Center (AIC), one of the oldest and largest Indigenous communities in the nation. On October 30, the center hosted a luncheon at the Newberry with members from AIC, accompanied by a presentation from the Newberry’s Ayer Collection, arranged by Analú María López, the Newberry’s Ayer Reference librarian. The Ayer Collection is recognized by scholars as among the world’s most important collections on Native American and Indigenous culture and history. In November, both Wisconsin’s Forest County Potawatomi and the Odawa community from Grant Traverse Bay, Michigan, will arrive to spend a week conducting research in the collection.
This winter, programming continues in both the cultural and scholarly realms. The McNickle Center will host a weekend of Winter Storytelling at the Newberry on January 18 – 19, 2019. The Center welcomes Indigenous storytellers from the AIC, the Lenape from Canada, the Cherokee from Oklahoma, and the Potawatomi from Wisconsin. Capping the event will be a reading by LeAnne Howe, noted Choctaw author, from her latest work Savage Conversations. To reach out to the youngest members of our Indigenous communities, Brenda Child (Red Lake Ojibwe), a scholar from the University of Minnesota, will read from her book, Bowwow Powwow, on Saturday, March 9.
On February 2, the McNickle Center will be hosting the Newberry Consortium for American Indian Studies (NCAIS) Graduate Student Conference, offering graduate students from NCAIS universities the opportunity to present their latest research in a productive setting. The conference is free, but registration is required.