In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York highlights the stories and artistry of Native women. The schedule of programs in March will feature scholarly talks about artworks by women, and a film that touches upon the many layers of identity navigated by Indigenous women.
In conjunction with “Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting,” there will be two scholarly talks addressing the works of several women artists represented in the exhibition.
Marking Space: Abstraction and Place will take place Thursday, March 5, at 6:30 p.m. This talk, presented by museum curator Rebecca Head Trautmann, considers the significance of landscape, place and narrative in the abstract paintings of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish/Cree/Shoshone, b. 1940), Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, b. 1935) and Emmi Whitehorse (Navajo, b. 1956).
On Thursday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m., Patricia Marroquin-Norby, the New York museum’s senior executive, will present20th Century Art and Environmental Conflicts. Highlighting the art of Tonita Peña (San Ildefonso/Cochiti Pueblo, 1893–1949) and Helen Hardin (Santa Clara Pueblo, 1943–1984), this scholarly talk examines connections between Pueblo watercolor paintings and environmental conflicts in 20th-century northern New Mexico.
On Saturday, March 7, the museum will screen The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019, Canada/Norway, 105 min.) from 2–5 p.m. Directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Blackfoot/ Sámi) and Kathleen Hepburn, the film tells the story of two Indigenous women living very different lives who are briefly brought together on the streets of Vancouver, British Columbia, by desperate circumstances. The story of their encounter explores the complexities of motherhood, class, race and the ongoing legacy of colonialism. A discussion with actress Violet Nelson will follow the screening.
Panel Discussion and Workshop
The museum will host the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience for two days of programing that explore how to remember, acknowledge and contemplate the presence of Haudenosaunee women in the landscape of western New York. On Thursday, March 12, the museum will host a panel discussion at 6 p.m. titled “Rethinking the Landscape: Haudenosaunee Women.” On Friday, March 13, a daylong workshop is offered to staff and volunteers from museums and historical sites, university students and faculty, and other interested parties. More information about the workshop is available at their Eventbrite page.
Both events feature Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora Nation), director of the American Indian and Indigenous Program at Cornell University; Michelle Schenandoah (Oneida Nation), founder and CEO of Rematriation magazine; and architect Julia Watson. The events will be facilitated by Linda Norris, global networks programs director at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. The museum’s George Gustav Heye Center is located at One Bowling Green in New York City. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu. (Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.)