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Found 1,040 Collections

 

The Black Arts Movement

“Sometimes referred to as 'the artistic sister of the Black Power Movement,' the Black Arts Movement stands as the single most controversial moment in the history of African-American literature—possibly in American literature as a whole. Although it fundamentally changed American attitudes both toward the function and meaning of literature as well as the place of ethnic literature in English departments, African-American scholars as prominent as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., have deemed it the 'shortest and least successful' movement in African American cultural history."--"Black Creativity: On the Cutting Edge," Time (Oct. 10, 1994)

This topical collection includes background information as well as examples of poetry and art from the Black Arts Movement. Two excerpts from essays are also included. There are also some examples of works from artists who rejected the premise of the Black Arts Movement.

Students could use this collection as a starting point for further research or to create an illustrated timeline of the movement. Works could be analyzed for their reflection or rejection of themes like: black nationalism, self-determination, "the black is beautiful" movement, and liberation. Students could also evaluate the merits of the arguments for and against a "black arts movement" as articulated by Karenga and Saunders in the text excerpts.

This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.

Kate Harris
41
 

The Boggs Collection

Art inspires us to appreciate, enjoy and reflect.  While no longer here to speak to that, Mae Helene Bacon Boggs generously gave us her collection of California paintings to find our own perspective in these matters. The art collection at Shasta is as unique as the collector, Mrs. Boggs, who not only collected the works, but was also instrumental in the development of Shasta as a California State Park.  She donated a fine library and archives to provide intellectual support for this collection. 

The legacy and philanthropy of Mrs. Boggs---her contributions to history and art---reside in Shasta State Historic Park, the only designated art gallery within California State Park System.  In 1871, at the age of eight, Mrs. Boggs had moved with her mother from Missouri to Shasta.  Her uncle, Williamson Lyncoya Smith, cared for them.  Smith was the division agent for the California State Company from 1853 through 1888 and, in this capacity, established the first stage line along the Sacramento River.  In honor, his name is assigned to the gallery as Mrs. Boggs wished.

            In her later years, Mrs. Boggs moved to San Francisco, established a successful business, and in 1902 married Angus Gordon Boggs, an important mining businessman.  Upon entering the social scene in San Francisco, she devoted herself to local and statewide improvements.  The list of those is long.

 

            Her correspondence, always signed “Faithfully, Mae Helene Bacon Boggs” has allowed us to appreciate, enjoy and reflect on both art and history.  Those of us familiar with the story of Mrs. Boggs and her art collection develop a deep respect as well as a fervent desire to further her preservation efforts.

Shasta_ranger
42
 

The Boundless World of Art

These are various artworks done by many movements and concepts from the East and the West to demonstrate the relationships of various art movements that have shaped their surroundings and the world.

Tyler Rodriguez
5
 

The Brown Sisters: Forty Years in Forty Portraits

This collection includes a unique series of portraits of four sisters. Every year, for forty years, one of the sisters' husbands captured the four women in a black and white photograph. A New York Times article introduces the project, paired with the forty photographs and some discussion questions considering elements of portraiture that are captured in these images.
Ashley Naranjo
43
 

The Changing Image of American Classrooms

The artworks in this collection exemplify just how rapidly classrooms and their students have changed over the past century. What can we learn about the Civil Rights Movement and America's historical challenge of diversity? How might these works allow us to better understand ongoing societal issues in addition to the valuable roles teachers play? 

This Learning Lab collection is intended for a multi-day lesson plan for middle school students. A lesson based off of this collection could be begin with a discussion of the similarities and differences between schooling a century ago and classrooms today. Using a number of individual and group thinking routines, students could then begin to identify historical precedents of discrimination which have existed and/or continue to exist in the American educational system. A close reading of attached articles incorporated with additional thinking strategies would allow students to consider ongoing efforts of activism related to the classroom. 

#SAAMteach


Evan Binkley
36
 

The Character of Man

Understanding the nature of our own species has been one of the greatest mysteries addressed in the history of human art, philosophy, literature, and culture. This collection will present a history of man’s search for the meaning of his own character—what impulses drive man, what morals and desires construct his life, and what artwork is produced as a result of this character. Does culture impact the character of man? Does it influence the men of one culture towards a particular mindset that distinguishes it from other men, or are there foundations of character that run throughout all of mankind? By examining the way that authors, artists, and philosophers approach the study of their fellow men, we can understand not only the cultural influences that drive these questions but also the nature of the men doing the questioning.



#AHMC2019

Briana Hanratty
19
 

The Cultural Side of the Chicano Movement

The art pieces in this collection is an overview of the cultural side of the Chicano Movement.

Dianna Millan
5
 

The Democratization of Portraiture: Prints and Drawings of all the People by the People

This collection serves as a preview for the first seminar session of the 2018 Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program. This year's theme is “We the People: America’s Grand and Radical Experiment with Democracy.”

National Portrait Gallery curator Asma Naeem and educator Briana Zavadil White will present an engaging and interactive examination of the democratization of portraiture in the United States, and model close looking techniques that Fellows can use with their students. Included within are a presentation description, participant bios, a "reading portraiture" guide, and images and articles for participants to consider in advance of the session.

#MCteach

Christopher Columbus, Yarrow Mamout, Charles Mingus, Lena Horne, Leonard Roy Harmon, Bill Viola


Philippa Rappoport
10
 

The Edward H. & Rosamund B. Spicer Photos of Yaqui Culture

The Rosamund B. and Edward H. Spicer of photographs of Yoeme (Yaqui) documents lifeways, culture, ceremonies, and families from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s in the villages of Old Pascua, Arizona and Potom, Sonora, Mexico.

#LatinoHAC

Arizona State Museum
21
 

The Eyak People and Their Culture

By Joe Cook (Eyak), 2008

(This is adapted from a transcript of an interview for the Smithsonian exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Sea, Land, Rivers

I'm of Eyak descent out of the Cordova area. My grandmother is full-blooded Eyak. I was born in Seattle, but I've been in Cordova since I was six months old. I was raised there, raised on the boats. When I was growing up, we lived down in Old Town pretty much. We weren't too far from the old village site.

We're on the edge of Copper River Delta there, which borders the Prince William Sound. On the east side of town, out on the Delta, you'd see a big flat with ponds and a river running through it, lots of ducks and geese. Out off shore you'd see the barrier islands where there's a lot of nesting going on. You'd see habitat for fish. In the inland area, you'd see mountains and glaciers. You'd see goats, bear, black and brown. And out on the Sound area, you'd see seal, sea otters and fish streams. It's a beautiful place.

In the springtime it's on the flight path for all the birds coming back from the south, just hundreds of thousands of sandpipers, ducks and geese. Any kind of bird you can imagine is passing through there.  Some of them stay the summer. When I was a kid, we used to gather the eggs. My grandmother used to gather eggs to eat, and we hunt them in the fall. Out on the barrier islands it was mostly seagulls that would nest out there, and that's where we'd get our fresh eggs in the springtime. We'd be out clam digging in the summertime. My parents used to dig clams, back before the clam crash, prior to the earthquake there. Cordova used to be the clam capital of the world back then, razor clams. After the earthquake, it raised up the land quite a bit so clams weren't as plentiful, and they're still not. Clams we pretty much have to get from Cook Inlet now.

In early spring, we have the hooligan move in. That's the first fish to come in, and then herring after that in the Sound. In the first part of May, the reds and kings (salmon) start to show up, from May until the middle of July. Then we start switching over to silver salmon, which run until September. It's actually a pretty long season, for fisheries on the Delta. The Sound starts early July and then runs through August, along there now with the hatcheries. There's a lot of fish there. When I was growing up, my uncles would take me out hunting and fishing with them. They taught me a lot. They wouldn't take me goat hunting, but they took me on the boats and around. My grandmother used to take me with her on occasion to the different fish camps she had.

Community and Family

From the stories I've heard and read, we were a small tribe. We were the in-between people. We were the traders. We were the go-betweens, between the different factions outside of us. And it seemed to work for us. Being as how we were a small tribe, that was the way we had to be, otherwise we would have probably been wiped out. Everybody in my family is able to get along through negotiation and trading. I think we're still carrying on as the go-betweens. We can get people together, talk things out. My brother Dune Lankard, he started the Eyak Preservation Council. He's trying to do the same thing at the village. It's a work in progress. We lost it all before, and we're just starting to get it back now. And I think we can.

I've fished ever since I was small. I think I had my first boat when I was twelve. I grew up on the water. My family has always fished, and we've always given to people haven't been able to get their own. In the village of Eyak we've got a program now where we get early fish, an early fishery so we can go out and take some early kings and reds. We pass them out to the elders and members of the village, which has really helped out a lot because we don't have that many fishermen anymore in the village. It's working out well, and that's through the Ilanka Culture Center. The village is getting stronger in all of the programs we've got going. We're growing it back.

It's hard to tell what was going on back in my grandmother's time, when she was younger, or back before her. You had the railroad come in and copper mines. I don't think it did my tribe any good. And they had big flu epidemics that wiped out I can't remember how many, but it was probably half the tribe. We had villages at Alaganik and at Eyak Lake. But it was back before my time, and my grandmother didn't talk a whole lot about it. So I'm assuming by her not talking about it, it wasn't a good time. 

Back in the early '60s, I remember Dr. Michael Krauss (linguist, Alaska Native Language Center) coming to town and talking with my grandmother (Lena Saska Nacktan), Sophie Borodkin and Marie Smith Jones. The only time I heard the language was when my grandmother would talk with Marie or Sophie. They'd just be in a world of their own. A friend of mine and I thought about having my grandmother teach it to us, but it never happened. I'm still kicking myself for not doing that. Marie died this year. She was the last fluent speaker. So, it's a language that's technically dead now, although the Native Village of Eyak and the Eyak Preservation Council have it all on tape and the dictionary. It's there for whoever wants to learn it.

Ceremony and Celebration

My grandmother's family, they were brought up when they couldn't speak the language. My grandmother still spoke Eyak, but my mother never learned it. She had to go off to boarding school in Sitka. A lot of our inner culture for the Eyaks was lost, or just was pretty much banned, I think, during my mom's time, so I really wasn't brought up with it too much myself. My gram taught me a few things, but it just wasn't there for a long time. They tried to pretty much just take away the Native culture, and I think they pretty much did.

There was school and government, from what my mom said. When my mom was going to school, she said they had a sign in the theater that Natives were only allowed in the balcony section. They had it a lot tougher than I did. I was brought up in both worlds: White and Native. My mom said that that there's nobody better than you, so if there's nobody than you, then you're better than nobody. So actually, I had it pretty good. I could walk both sides of the street and still do to this day.

It's a lot better today. At the Native Village of Eyak, we've got the Ilanka Culture Center going. We've got classes, and we've got dance classes and a dance group. We're growing it back. It's never going to go back to the way it was, but at least we're bringing back the culture. We've got a small museum we've built, and we'll get back some of our artifacts that were taken from us years ago so we can learn about our history. Getting our programs going – the dance groups, the crafts – it can only better. I see good things happening to us.

Tags: Eyak, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
18
 

The Global Collection #TeachingInquiry

A collection focused on teaching about the power of diverse communities to Grades 3 and up. The artifacts found in this collection are intended to focus on the concept of cultural and artistic traditions by developing an understanding of diverse communities through the compelling question, “How does Culture make us similar or different?” Also, to help students build contextual knowledge under the supporting questions of (1) what is Culture, (2) how does Culture change over time, and (3) what can we learn about a Culture through their artistic traditions? #C3Framework #TeachingInquiry

lindi Ingram
14
 

The Great Debate: Portraiture and Primary Sources

This collection is created in conjunction with a professional development workshop facilitated by the National Portrait Gallery and Teaching with Primary Sources Northern Virginia (TPSNVA is funded by a grant from the Library of Congress). 

Have you ever wondered if a portrait is a primary source? In this workshop, we will examine portraits from the Portrait Gallery, along with primary sources from the Library of Congress, to consider this question and explore connections between the two distinct collections. Participants will brainstorm and come up with strategies to incorporate these rich resources into their English and social studies curriculum.  

#NPGteach

Briana White
66
 

The Haida People and Their Culture

By Jeane Breinig (Haida), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Sea, Land, Rivers

It’s an endless cycle – gathering food, putting it up, sharing it among the people. Subsistence is fundamental to our being, even for city-dwellers. Every summer since the kids were little, we would return to Kasaan to join in harvesting activities with family and friends. Our traditions pass on through the foods, the seasons and the generations. I am Haida Yáahl-Xúuts (Raven–Brown Bear), of the Taslaanas clan (The Sandy Beach People) at Kasaan, Alaska. By the custom of our matrilineal society, I trace my descent and clan affiliation through my mother, her mother and a long line of Raven women going back through the centuries.

Haida identities are linked to the history of our people. Alaskan Haida look south to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada) as their ancestral homeland. The present villages of Masset and Skidegate were the only settlements that remained after a smallpox epidemic ravaged Haida Gwaii in 1862. Survivors from at least seventeen other communities found refuge there. Alaskan Haida are the descendants of emigrants who left Haida Gwaii sometime before European contact. Residents of Old Kasaan, one of the original Alaskan villages, moved to (New) Kasaan in 1902, and people from Howkan, Klinkwan, and other early Alaskan Haida settlements consolidated at Hydaburg in 1911. The distance from northern Haida Gwaii to Prince of Wales Island is not great, only about thirty-five miles. It is easy to imagine our forebears going across in their canoes: the Haida are justly famous as seafarers and boat builders. Our red-cedar canoes, some large enough to carry forty passengers, traveled up and down the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia and were sought in trade by Tlingit, Tsimshian and other peoples.

When the salmon start jumping in Kasaan Bay, it’s time to begin gathering the foods of our land. We pick sghiw (black seaweed) during the minus tides of May, when you can get out to the rocks where it grows. They spread it out on flat rocks to dry in the sun, took it home in gunnysacks, ground it up, and stored it as a savory food for winter. We love to eat it by the handful or sprinkle it on fish soup. As the summer goes on we fish for halibut and the different species of salmon that arrive in our waters. Sockeye from the Karta River, a staple of the diet in Kasaan, are smoked and preserved using an endless variety of family recipes. Clams, abalone, “gumboots” (chitons), crabs and shrimp are also harvested, and salmonberries, blueberries and huckleberries are picked as they ripen in succession. The men go deer hunting in the fall. Another staple is hooligan (eulachon) oil or “grease,” called satáw in the Haida language. Haida traditionally bartered for fish grease and soapberries from the Tsimshian in exchange for our dried seaweed and halibut. That kind of trading still goes on at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention every October, when everyone brings specialties from home to exchange for favorite foods from other places.

Family and Community

In a traditional Haida village, cedar-plank longhouses stood side by side, each paired with a tall pole displaying the crest animals of the clan members who resided there. An opening through base of the pole, representing the mouth or stomach of the lowest crest figure, served as the doorway to some houses. Like other southeast Alaskan peoples, the Haida are socially divided between Ravens and Eagles, each half (moiety) composed of numerous matrilineal clans. Traditional marriages were always between a member of a Raven clan and a member of an Eagle clan. The residents of a longhouse included multiple generations of male clan members and women of other clans who came there to live with their husbands.

Much of a child’s education was the responsibility of clan mentors outside the nuclear family: for a boy, this was his maternal uncle, and for a girl, her maternal aunt. On their pathways to adulthood, children received the names of ancestors, as well as piercings and tattoos that signified their clan and rank. Children still learn through watching and participating in the activities of the community. Our oral tradition is another participatory way of learning. Elders teach through stories, although the message may be indirect. If you seek an elder’s counsel, you might hear a tale about another place and time. It is up to you to think about the meaning and apply it to your own life.

The worst horrors of Haida contact with the West were waves of epidemic disease – smallpox, influenza, tuberculosis, whooping cough and others – that consumed the aboriginal population, unchecked by natural immunity. Perhaps fourteen thousand Haida in the 1780s had withered to six hundred by 1915. It is hard to imagine loss on that scale, not only of life, but also of culture and heritage. Most of the clan leadership was gone, and consolidation of the widespread population into just a few villages almost destroyed the complex social system as it had functioned until then.

Haida oral literature is renowned for its epic tales of battles and migrations, transformations from animals to human beings and vice versa, and journeys to spirit worlds in the sky and underwater. Other Haida tales, especially Raven stories, are simply fun with a touch of mystery. Raven, the comical trickster is always in trouble. Elders say that he turned black by getting stuck in the smoke hole of a house and being too fat and lazy to escape.

Today there are fewer than a dozen fluent Alaskan Haida speakers. I am fortunate that my mother, Julie Coburn, is one of them. Her Haida name is Wahlgidouk, “Giver of Gifts,” meaning a person who brings in presents to be distributed at a ceremonial giveaway, or potlatch. She has been giving the gifts of language and literature throughout her life. Keeping her language was a kind of heroism under all the pressures for acculturation. Her parents, concerned about their children’s survival in Western culture, spoke Haida to them at home but asked them to answer in English. At her boarding school in Sitka, speaking Haida was harshly punished. But as an adult in her fifties, she recognized that the language was fading away, so she relearned it and now has had the good fortune also to teach others. She participated in the Haida Society for the Preservation of Haida Language and Literature and contributed to work accomplished at the Alaska Native Language Center when Haida elders developed a standardized writing system.

Ceremony and Celebration

In 1880, Chief Son-I-Hat built Neyúwens ("Great House") near Kasaan Bay, a mile from the location where New Kasaan was later founded. That structure, today called the Whale House, was restored in 1938 by Haida craftsmen working for the Civilian Conservation Corps. The restoration included the house’s crest pole and carved interior posts, which portray Coon-Ahts, a legendary figure who captured the monster Gonaqadate and put on his skin to hunt whales. Surrounding the house are additional totem poles brought over from Old Kasaan and restored, along with copies of several more. The Whale House is the only surviving traditional Haida clan house in Alaska.

The English word potlatch has been used for traditional Haida ceremonies that centered on feasting, dancing and the distribution of property by chiefs and other leaders. The Haida word is 'wáahlaal. The largest potlatches marked the completion of a new clan house or the death of a chief and succession of his heir. Chief Son-I-Hat, one of the wealthiest Haida leaders, hosted numerous potlatches before his death in 1912. Potlatches were outlawed by the Canadian government in 1884, and they were discouraged by Christian missionaries who came to the Haida region in the 1870s and 1880s.

Despite attempts to suppress of our traditional ceremonies, we still hold feasts and memorial potlatches, but now in transformed ways. Traditionally, potlatches represented a time for the deceased person’s clan to repay those from other clans who had helped them at the time of the death. In many respects, a potlatch can be viewed as a social occasion but with very formal aspects, acknowledging the sadness of the loss but also marking the end of mourning. Potlatches are also the time to repay those who have served as witnesses for naming ceremonies. By accepting a gift, recipients acknowledge that the name is legally granted within the traditional Haida system.

We are celebrating and revitalizing Haida culture in southeast Alaska. Teaching the language and rebuilding the Whale House are just a part of it. Every summer in Kasaan, a culture camp for the kids is held, with storytelling, dancing and subsistence activities. They want to learn and are so proud of their heritage. What does it mean to be Haida? The answer now is different from that of the past, obviously. We need to know our history and learn from it. We need to know our culture and draw strength from it. We need to make it work for us today.

Tags: Haida, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a social and artistic movement of the 1920s that took place in the eclectic neighborhood of Harlem, New York. African-Americans, many of whom had migrated from the South to escape the harsh realities of racism and segregation, brought Harlem to life during this era with music, dance, poetry, film, education, literature, entrepreneurship, and social activism. This unprecedented revolution and its icons birthed knowledge and artistry that continues to impact American culture today. Such icons include Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McLeod Bethune, Madam C.J. Walker, Oscar Micheaux, Duke Ellington, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Mahalia Jackson.

 The individual contributions of these “Harlemites” were so distinguished that the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAG) of the United States Postal Service selected each to be commemorated on a United States Postage Stamp. These stamps have been digitized and are housed at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

The Harlem Renaissance Collection includes a video on each Harlem Renaissance icon and an activity that teachers can use in the classroom.

Keywords: NMAAHC, National Postal Museum, American History, African American History, Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McLeod Bethune, Madam C.J. Walker, Oscar Micheaux, Duke Ellington, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Mahalia Jackson

Kyle Wallace
11
 

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a social and artistic movement of the 1920s that took place in the eclectic neighborhood of Harlem, New York. African-Americans, many of whom had migrated from the South to escape the harsh realities of racism and segregation, brought Harlem to life during this era with music, dance, poetry, film, education, literature, entrepreneurship, and social activism. This unprecedented revolution and its icons birthed knowledge and artistry that continues to impact American culture today. Such icons include Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McLeod Bethune, Madam C.J. Walker, Oscar Micheaux, Duke Ellington, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Mahalia Jackson.

 The individual contributions of these “Harlemites” were so distinguished that the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAG) of the United States Postal Service selected each to be commemorated on a United States Postage Stamp. These stamps have been digitized and are housed at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

The Harlem Renaissance Collection includes a video on each Harlem Renaissance icon and an activity that teachers can use in the classroom.

Keywords: NMAAHC, National Postal Museum, American History, African American History, Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McLeod Bethune, Madam C.J. Walker, Oscar Micheaux, Duke Ellington, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Mahalia Jackson

Le'Passion Darby
11
 

The Impact of America's Musical Evolution

My curated collection will investigate the non-linear timeline of music and its impact on listeners. I am a firm believer that music does not “improve” with time as it is ever-evolving in new and unique ways. However, I do believe that the additions and discoveries for new styles of music creation to be relative. Music folds over itself. In many aspects of life, not only in music, humans  have built off of past discoveries in order to continue their own research and eventual creation. 

After studying early European music pieces, I have been inspired to further explore musical evolution.  Today's artists have access to all of the music that had been created and recorded. The ability to build upon certain sounds from historic cultures is imperative to what we hear now. While modern artists have better means to effectively produce music, it does not necessarily mean that the quality is superior; they are  simply using preexisting music forms to build their own one-of-a-kind art. The connections I've made are between these ground-breaking moments in music history and what we still hear today.

The audience that this subject should appeal to is the melting pot of America. Music acts as an artistic timeline because it can poetically represent the emotions of the average person in the given demographic. The more that I learn and research of ancient music styles, the more I see a reflection in today's pop music culture.In this collection, I will emphasize the importance to be aware that while different demographics of the world live and experience different physical existences; they experienced the same human emotions. Music helps to prove this idea, giving us the ability to pinpoint the feelings of the past, present and future. 

#AHMCFall2019

Cam Rodriguez
19
 

The Impact of Color in Paintings

This collection includes paintings of similar subjects  (women) presented in both black and white and in color. The objective of this project is for students to recognize and think about the impact of color on their interpretations.  Identify responses to color and think about it as one of the artist's tools for conveying meaning.

 

Tags: Elizabeth McCausland; Childe Hassam; Antonia de Banuelos; Angel Rodriguez-Diaz; William H. Johnson

Samantha Castaneda
6
 

The Iñupiaq People and Their Culture

By Beverly Faye Hugo (Iñupiaq), 2009

(This is shortened version of a longer essay from the Smithsonian book Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.)

Sea, Land, Rivers

There’s ice and snow, the ocean and darkness – darkness in the winter and twenty-four hours of daylight in the summer. Barrow was originally called Utqiaġvik (meaning, “the place where ukpik, the snowy owl, nests”). That’s where my people, the Iñupiat, have survived and lived, and I am doing as they have done. On the Arctic coast you can see vast distances in all directions, out over the ocean and across the land. The country is very flat, with thousands of ponds and lakes, stretching all the way to the Brooks Range in the south. It is often windy, and there are no natural windbreaks, no trees, only shrubs. Beautiful flowers grow during the brief summer season. The ocean is our garden, where we hunt the sea mammals that sustain us. Throughout the year some seasonal activity is going on. We are whaling in the spring and fall, when the bowheads migrate past Barrow, going out for seals and walrus, fishing, or hunting on the land for caribou, geese, and ducks.

Whaling crews are made up of family members and relatives, and everyone takes part. The spring is an exciting time when the whole community is focused on the whales, hoping to catch one. The number we are permitted to take each year is set by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the International Whaling Commission. Whaling is not for the faint of heart. It can be dangerous and takes an incredible amount of effort – getting ready, waiting for the whales, striking and pulling and towing them. But the men go out and do it because they want to feed the community. Everyone has to work hard throughout the whaling season. People who aren’t able to go out on the ice help in other ways, such as buying supplies and gas or preparing food. You have to make clothing for them; they need warm parkas, boots, and snow pants.

We believe that a whale gives itself to a captain and crew who are worthy people, who have integrity – that is the gift of the whale. Caring for whales, even after you’ve caught them, is important. After a whale is caught and divided up, everyone can glean meat from the bones. Each gets his share, even those who don’t belong to a crew. No one is left out.

We are really noticing the effects of global warming. The shorefast ice is much thinner in spring than it used to be, and in a strong wind it will sometimes break away. If you are out on the ice, you have to be extremely conscious of changes in the wind and current so that you will not be carried off on a broken floe. We are concerned as well about the effects of offshore drilling and seismic testing by the oil companies. They try to work with the community to avoid problems, but those activities could frighten the whales and be detrimental to hunting.

 

Community and Family

Iñupiaq residents of Barrow, Wales, Point Hope, Wainwright, and other coastal communities, are the Taġiuqmiut, “people of the salt.” People who live in the interior are the Nunamiut, “people of the land.” The Nunamiut used to be nomadic, moving from camp to camp with their dog teams, hunting and fishing to take care of their families. They packed light and lived in skin tents, tracking the caribou and mountain sheep. My husband, Patrick Hugo, was one of them. For the first six years of his life his family traveled like that, but when the government built a school at Anaktuvuk Pass in 1959 they settled there.

My parents, Charlie and Mary Edwardson, were my foremost educators. They taught me my life skills and language. When I came to awareness as a young child, all the people who took care of me spoke Iñupiaq, so that was my first language. Our father would trap and hunt. We never went hungry and had the best furs for our parkas. Our mother was a fine seamstress, and we learned to sew by helping her. My mother and grandmother taught us to how to care for a family and to do things in a spirit of cooperation and harmony.

I was a child during the Bureau of Indian Affairs era, when we were punished for speaking Iñupiaq in school. My first day in class was the saddest one of my young life. I had to learn English, and that was important, but my own language is something that I value dearly and have always guarded. It is a gift from my parents and ancestors, and I want to pass it on to my children and grandchildren and anyone who wants to learn.

 

Ceremony and Celebration

Nalukataq (blanket toss) is a time of celebration when spring whaling has been successful. It is a kind of all-day picnic. People visit with friends and family at the windbreaks that the crews set up by tipping the whale boats onto their sides. At noon they serve niġliq (goose) soup, dinner rolls, and tea. At around 3:00 P.M. we have mikigaq, made of fermented whale meat, tongue, and skin. At 5:00 they serve frozen maktak (whale skin and blubber) and quaq (raw frozen fish). It’s wonderful to enjoy these foods, to talk, and catch up with everyone at the end of the busy whaling season.

Kivgik, the Messenger Feast, was held in the qargi (ceremonial house). The umialgich (whaling captains) in one community sent messengers to the leaders of another, inviting them and their families to come for days of feasting, dances, and gift giving. They exchanged great quantities of valuable things – piles of furs, sealskins filled with oil, weapons, boats, and sleds. That took place until the early years of the twentieth century, when Presbyterian missionaries suppressed our traditional ceremonies, and many of the communal qargich in the villages were closed down.

In 1988, Mayor George Ahmaogak Sr. thought it was important to revitalize some of the traditions from before the Christian era, and Kivgik was started again. Today it is held in the high school gymnasium. People come to Barrow from many different communities to take part in the dancing and maġgalak, the exchange of gifts. You give presents to people who may have helped you or to those whom you want to honor.  Kivgiq brings us together as one people, just as it did in the time of our ancestors.

Tags: Iñupiaq, Inupiaq, Alaska Native, Indigenous, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska, whale, whaling, human geography

Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska
20
 

The Mayans

This collection was created for Honors World Studies to be an introduction to the Maya Civilization. Items in this collection were found via Smithsonian Learning Lab and additional outside research. Appropriate citations have been included.

Amelia Ingraham
12
 

The Monsters of Our Minds or The Monsters of This Earth

For decades humans have depicted art in various forms that consist of monsters. This made me ask myself; what exactly is a monster? These pieces of art consist of images that their creators describe as monsters. I am going to delve in to the history behind these objects and symbols to figure out if they are really monsters or if our ideas of what makes an object or a person a monster skewed.

mariana addo
15
 

The Museum Idea

Museums and galleries play an important role in society. They preserve the past, enrich the present, and inspire the future. In this lesson, students will take a close look at museums, why they exist, and what the people who work in them do. By the end of the lesson, student's will create their own "Museum of Me." 

This lesson was inspired by an issue of Smithsonian's Art to Zoo and includes Minecraft: Education Edition extensions. It is part of the  2017 Museum Day Live! STEM Challenge

DOWNLOAD THE PDF TO COMPLETE THIS LESSON.

Museum Day Live!
10
 

The Music in Poetry

Lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom introduce students to the rhythms of poetry. The focus is on two poetic forms that originated as forms of song: the ballad stanza, found throughout British and American literature, and the blues stanzas of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Poetry is put into terms of movement, physical space, and, finally, music.

Click the PDF icon to download the issue. Click on the boxes (then click again on "View original") for audio samples of ballads and blues from the Smithsonian Folkways archives.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
6
 

The National Numismatic Collection's East Asian Currency Highlights

Established in the mid-19th century, several of the earliest additions to the NNC were artifacts from Japan, Korea, and China, including coins and medals gifted to President Ulysses S. Grant from Japanese Emperor Meiji (received in 1881) and the 2,025 East Asian coins, amulets, and notes from George Bunker Glover’s private collection (received in 1897). These donations were the foundation of the NNC’s East Asian holdings, which continues to grow with new acquisitions, such as the Howard F. Bowker collection in 2017. 

Emily Pearce Seigerman
94
 

The Native American Struggle for Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty

This collection serves as a preview for the sixth (final) of six seminar sessions in the 2018 Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program. This year's theme is “We the People: America’s Grand and Radical Experiment with Democracy.”

National Museum of American Indian colleagues Mark Hirsch, David Penney, and Colleen Call Smith will explore the past, present, and future of treaties between the United States and Native nations, and show how American Indians have drawn on these 18th- and 19th -century agreements to defend tribal rights and exercise political sovereignty in the 20th and 21st centuries.  They will also discuss their efforts to integrate the exhibition's main themes and messages into the museum’s “Native Knowledge 360°” initiative, a national educational program designed to change the way American Indian histories, cultures, and contemporary lives are taught in K-12 classrooms.

Resources included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore before the seminar itself.

#MCteach

Philippa Rappoport
8
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