Are Red and Black Related through History?

An exhibition exploring the shared history between African and Native Americans is trying to answer this question. It will open at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art on Feb. 12, 2011.

Red/Black: Related Through History includes an object-based exhibition on the subject, created by the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Smithsonian’s traveling panel show, Indivisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas.

Since the first arrival of African slaves in North America, the interactions between people of African and Native American heritage has been a combined story of conflict, cooperation, cultural growth, destruction and survival, believes Eiteljorg Museum.

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Since 2001, the Eiteljorg Museum says, it has pioneered research on this subject and has drawn together important art and artifacts that demonstrate shared traditions found in history, genealogy, food, dress, music and occupation.

Some American Indians held black slaves and others helped them escape. Sometimes there was intermarriage and a blending of traditions.

The exhibition will explore the stories of individuals and groups that highlight the allied and adversarial relationship between blacks and American Indians.

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Red/Black also explores issues of race and personal identity and the question: “Who am I and who gets to say so?”

The exhibit will illustrate the complexity of racial identity and why judgments about race can so easily be misguided.

According to Eiteljorg Museum, Red/Black: Related Through History includes dynamic programming and runs through Aug. 9.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman