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tv   Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau  CSPAN  September 2, 2018 6:25pm-7:01pm EDT

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he's frustrated by washington's indifference to him. >> watch the entire event sunday at 8 p.m. and midnight at eight eastern. only on american history tv. >> this week in american history tv is featuring flagstaff arizona, where c-span's city tour staff travel to see their sites. located 80 miles south of the learn more about flagstaff all weekend here on american history tv. >> we are in a new exhibit called native people of colorado plateau, which opened in april 2018. it is a replacement for an older exhibit that have been here for about four years. this exhibit covers 10 tribes of the colorado plateau.
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we have another community in new the -- another arizona tribe. the apache, who are two distinct people but live on one reservation just about 45 minutes south of here. the navajo, which comprises the largest tribe and the largest reservation in the entire united states. we delved into various aspects about those tribal cultures and history. what was fun was working with the stories that they wanted told in their voice with their perspective. thiswere involved in
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selection. they outlined and told the stories they wanted told. in most cases they wrote the exits themselves. since the exhibit has been open the response from that community, the tribal community has been absolutely tremendous. i think it has been developing in the american you -- american museum world for some time in the last 20 or 30 years. i think it really hits home to a lot of people like myself, that there was kind of a colonial towards describing people in the third person,
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rather than asking them to tell in the firstries person. effortd colonialization to present your own histories. and to share them with the visitors here. >> [speaking native language] we live in the north-central part of the state. very errant, very try -- very
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dry. this last year really got four inches of rainfall. today is ae live place we have been living since we went to our homeland. is the place we were told we were destined to live. own foodgrow our through a method called dry farming. we talk about principles and values tied to that. have a cord of water, a planting stick and a blue corn. this is the story told to us that we believe is how we all started this. it was a spiritual guardian of this earth that gave us this knowledge.
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the covenant we made with the wouldual guardian was we get to know the environment very well and become stewards of the earth. tied to connected -- tied to growing food and corn in a very arid environment. not irrigated, it's completely reliant on natural rainfall. ,atural rain, monsoon season the winter snows, all of contributes to the moisture all your long and produces a wonderful food source. our whole culture is tied around water. and cooperative values. you couldn't survive in that without living cooperatively.
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you see our art and life ways are tied to things that come out of the environment. we have a rapid skin blanket. rabbit was a primary source for meat and protein. jack rabbits run particularly fast. the men would chase after them and use a rabbit stick. there's one here. to awould use them similar boomerang, throw them as they were running and hit the rabbit in the neck. we would skin the rabbit, eating the meat, then make blankets out of the for. this trait is slowly dying out. it's because places like this museum that these arts are being revitalized. on top are made from local grass. they are all natural dyes also coming from the earth. women are the basket makers in our community, as well as the potters.
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all the paints are made into clay. the women were very industrious. pottery, and we were also the producers of all the food. then the men had a big role, they not only farmed the corn, they will the rabbit skin blankets. here is a kilt, our traditional clothing includes men's kilts. used in ceremonial dancing and singing. our community is rich in heritage and it is all based in this era desert living that requires us to be helpful to one
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another, to share and support what we know. it's also about living a very simple and happy life. everyone of our songs, every one of our prayers is about living a beautiful happy day and then growing old to die. that really defined success. we have a wedding robe, this is . wedding outfit all the textiles are woven by men in the community. specifically at the beginning of that ceremony. andceremony took six years then a payback. when a woman is given these -- these clothes,
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she wears them three times in her life. the ceremony represents a safe passage for her and her children and her husband. she reciprocates that gift with a basket. that basket is made for her husband. when he passes that will be buried with him. we only have one wedding ceremony, one marriage, one wedding. divorced, then you don't go through a divorce ceremony. you just no longer live together in this life. we still acknowledge it as being a married couple in our language and some of the responsibilities. they are stillon at polished to live a happy life forever. it's a wonderful way to look at the world despite the realities it takes place. we have a few toys given to their children.
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there are lighting sticks, a little game with a ball and stick. ball and stick represents lightning that we want to bring to our community. the radel is made out of a cord and has pictures of some flowers and they only come out when there is an abundance of rain. when you look at the pictograph , you see nothing but abundance, you see butterflies and flowers and corn and clouds, feathers, all the things that surround our beautiful life when we have an abundance in life. --a community could community curator. fun to be of the support the story in this exhibit. all i reallynt was was was a facilitator.
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i found 10 to 15 other people who wanted to help change -- and worke the story with the director and lead curator in the museum. all the hugeut wonderful ideas we have in our community. the hardest thing is to bring those down to three or four or five major points. there is so much to say but the space is quite small. we talked about the marriage, about farming, about darfur story of how we arrived here. then we end with the beautiful life we hope to achieve. many conversations it takes to get us to that point. then we came to the museum, came , chosecollection center 500 pieces, way more that could fit in the exhibition.
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people who are part of the exhibition may not have seen the full collection. remembering the story we are trying to tell and selecting objects that help tell that story, those are edited down. fori did all the writing the exhibition. then working with designers to put it all together in a beautiful way. this takes years of part-time and then going back and sharing these final drafts to see what they feel. they were still telling us little changes we could make, so it never really ends. we hope the visitors to the museum will learn a little bit about who we are. and most important to realize we are still here and a vibrant community, people who are alive and doing well, have a beautiful
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culture and have challenges and issues we are dealing with ourselves. really moving forward and living a beautiful life in this 21st century. we are still -- felt that they could not goal -- not going to old stores. we decided we never wanted the tribes to feel uncomfortable, so we incorporated them into the beginning design of this. features of the collection center is we are
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oriented to the east rather than being oriented to the south. we also wanted to find out from them where there are certain other features they wanted. they wanted the collection center to have a collection to major geographic features, such as the san francisco peaks to the north. and besides the entrance to the east, one of the elders said even though you don't have any ittrictive cultural items would be nice if things would know that basically -- would basically know the changing of the season. so we have a solid aperture that is in the east wall. when the sun comes up over mount light it casts a band of that hits the center of the collection door.
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we feel it is important to offer behind-the-scenes collections so we can explain to the public how the collections get used and to let them know it is not in indiana jones storage area where record things. we work on preserving things not only for current generations but also the future generations that come along. we have to balance putting things on display with the best preservation interest of the items. are inside the eastern collection center on the upper level, where all of our ethnographic collections are stored. let's start in the pottery section. this is kind of a sample of our pottery. this gets a lot of attention from collectors and the public. they are beautiful works of art.
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you can see some of the design elements. usually when i give tors of this collection to the general public these are the pieces that get most of the attention. tors ofdo a lot of collections to members of the community as well. i had a group of quilters here who were here to look at our quilt speed i gave them a tour of our other collections as well. i was showing some of these pieces over here, some of these water jugs. calledthropologists have -- pieces that are important to hopi culture, but have not really had a collectors market. pieces that a lot of hopi people don't see in their community anymore.
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elsepeople, like everybody , replace ceramics with metal and plastics because they were purely a utilitarian storage. these would have been water jugs used to bring water up from the springs to the hopi natives. this to a group of hopi visitors, the quilters and showing this picture here of the woman carrying water from a above.to the mesa as she took me aside she said, this photo is completely staged. i said how can you tell? i'm from thisse village, the spring is not in this canyon, it's in a canyon over here. an incredible moment of personal connection
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between somebody from a source community and our collection. those kind of experiences can bring on fixed life. that's the kind of information you don't get from a book. interaction by an between somebody from the community and that object. we are to take a look at a little bit of jewelry. we have jewelry on the side and hopi jewelry on the side. and 1940'se 1930's they looked very much like navajos over smithing.
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it was difficult for someone with an untrained eye to tell the difference from not for -- from navajo. hopi silversmiths and silversmiths learned from navajo silversmiths. they develop their own style over time into this very intricate needlepoint centric circles of turquoise. styleas become an iconic for so over smithing. hopi silversmith thing on the is really kind of techniquehe overlay is something that emerged after the 1930's, after the 1940's.
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the museum of northern arizona played a role in the evolution of this technique and this style. one of our founders at the museum of arizona, she sells that hopi silversmiths really should be evolving and developing their own technique and their own style, and using hopi culture specific images and symbols in their work. up until this point they were using a lot of the same tools, a lot of the same stamps, a lot of techniques as not a house over smith's. we have a piece rate here. this is an older piece. it looks like some of the navajos over something at the time.
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so they felt at the museum had a role to play. and the museum could encourage these artists to develop their own technique. part of this process was developing and commissioning a series of watercolors by an assistant curator here at the museum at the time. these are the original watercolors he painted. these were essentially ideas the museum had that he could try to incorporate hopi specific symbols into their artwork. retrospect there is a bit of a paternalistic relationship. looking back, it really does strike some people as a non-native museum really trying
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leaste if not dictate at steer hopi silversmiths in a certain direction. collectors always had -- this was more explicit. it is what it is and historically that's how it evolved. the museum played this role in helping to steer hopi silversmiths into a certain way. what the museum data's make reap record -- make reproductions of these watercolors and send them out to the artists and they went through a lot of these designs, some of which they rejected or they worked with and the evolved and eventually there is a picture here. 1930'sarted in the late and there was a big event going on in the world at the time.
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a lot of these artists went off the war in world war ii. then they kind of picked up where they left off. from 1949 ofto these artists going over some of these designs in trying to decide what would work because a lot of these designs came from pottery or textiles. that's what we're looking at here, the result of those works. you can see things like the serpent figure, the waves, the butterfly, these are all symbols that are specific to hopi and pueblo coulter -- and pueblo
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culture. so this is a rabbit fur blanket. to 1937.dates back the reason i know that is because we have good records here. also because of the tag we have here from our hopi craftsman show in 1937. that is the oldest festival we have been doing here at the museum, almost since the inception of the museum. the first one was 1930 to 1931. we started doing these craftsman shows, what we used to call the craftsman shows. now call them we
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the festival of arts and culture. the indication there that we are celebrating art, it is not just crafts anymore, it is a form of art. these tags are great. there is a lot of information here. we have the name of the person who created it, which is very rare. we have donations of objects 20, 40,ple and people 50, 60 years ago didn't think to keep track of the name of the artist they purchased the piece from. the name on there and the price this was sold at. that's $1937, a little different from today. wear gloves when i handle any objects in the collection.
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that's to protect those objects from the oil in my hands paid up the oil in my hands can damage ceramics and jewelry. when we get into textiles and other organic objects it's really to protect me. theeen the 1950's and 1970's it was common practice at many museums and just in the general public to treat organic for,ts, especially wool, and other objects with a pesticide. i don't know if you can read the active ingredient. arsenic. sodium obviously very poisonous. water-soluble, it can be absorbed through your hands.
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this is sold not just in the museums but over the counter. it's better to use too much than too little. this product was banned with a lot of others -- a lot of other hazardous products in the 1970's. there was a period of time where it was a regular practice in the museum and the story went that the cyber truck would pull up to the loading dock, staff would carry new objects out to the truck, the truck would blast with a white powder. of course probably not wearing gloves at the time. we were careful about the textiles in our collection. we have records that they were treated. if we had it in that time.
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between the 1950's and 1970's we were very careful about how it was stored. this is our most recent rabbit fur blanket. artist fromby an zuni pueblo. he is a master weaver, does all kinds of different master weaving. he focused on all of these older artistic traditions people have not been doing for many years. there was nobody in his community to teach rabbit fur blanket weaving. so he has done a lot of research in museums. which is again why i think museum collections are very important and can play a very important role in contemporary native art. he has essentially been able to re-create some of these techniques by examining not just
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rabbit for blanket in our museum but rabbit for blankets in museums all over the country. reverseeen able to engineer that process by looking at museum objects and collections. and this he brought to our zuni festival two years ago. one of our patrons generously purchased it and donated it to the museum. youas the one i showed before sold for $15 in 1937, this sold for $1500 in 2016. the rabbit for blanket, the turkey for blanket, these are objects that we have examples from archaeological records going back to what we call basket maker three, 980 and before. we recovered from archaeological products -- archaeological projects all across.
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you could tell it was a fragment of a blanket. at one point rabbit for blankets fell out of favor and people started making turkey feather blankets. you see that coming along when pueblo people started to .omestic eating turkeys you can see that in changes in architecture, you see a lot more turkey remains, turkey pens. that to me is a great example of how there is not a split between pre-history and history, it is really only relative -- and history that is only relative to european contact. and we can trace a line directly from contemporary zuni artists , that line goes all the
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