trip to the museum, I was very captivated by the Indian exhibited. They had many different tribes
including: Ottawa, Potawatomi and Chippewa people. When walking through the
museum, I saw many eye catching pictures and wardrobes. The other exhibit that
attracted my attention was the whale right when you first walk in. It is so
large and puts the ocean in perspective and how large the animals are.
At the museum they have the story of the Anishinabek “the
people” , but is describe in their own words, with rare and fascinating
objects, photographs and documents. The exhibit is about 5,000 square feet, and
is all committed to only talking about the tribes that walk through Michigan
first. The three main tribes displayed are the Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Chippewa.
On display is decorative arts, clothing, weapons and tools, with video
interviews with Anishinabe elders, parents, artists and professionals.
The exhibit talked about how the traditional Anishinabe
society had no kings, presidents, governors, or mayors. Instead, it had a
highly developed tradition of leadership and community service. Each band had
its “Ogerhuk” or leaders who led by example and
represented the group to outsiders. Each leaders authority went only as far as
he or she could convince others to follow willingly. This was really intriguing
to me because they pretty much had no set leader, and surprisingly it wasn’t utter chaos.
Pow Wows which also could be called a Tribe gathering,
were very popular for the Anishinabe people. Often times Pow wows gather
Anishinabek from all over the nation to socialize with other Indian people.
These Pow wows didn’t
begin in Michigan until the 1960s. They include traditional Woodland Indian
music and dance with those learned from tribes in other states, and new songs
made by drum groups. Today, there are many different types of Pow Wow dances
and each one plays a specific role in the Pow Wow circle. Each dancer at a Pow
Wow makes a strong personal statement with his or her regalia (Dance Attire). Pow Wow regalia often includes historic silver
pieces such as brooches, arm bands, and gorgets, originally exchanged as trade
goods between French and British fur traders and the Great Lakes Indians. These
Pow wows can still be seen today in modern Indian culture.
When the U.S. Government threat-ended to remove the
Anishinabek to reservations in the West, the Indians argued that they were “civilized”
Christian farmers and should be allowed to stay. After much of their land had
been lost, the Anishinabek remained in Michigan, often mixing traditional pursuits
such as fishing and basket weaving with a diversity of jobs. In the 1930s many
Anishinabek moved to bigger cities in search of work. Despite these changes,
the Anishinabe culture endured. One interesting thing that the Anishinabe people
followed was the idea of Kinship, or the relationship among individuals, this
is one of the most important elements of Anishinabe culture. It helps to define
and organize the Anishinabe society, even when individuals live miles apart
from each other. In the video I watched while touring this exhibit they covered
the “Terms” that define kinship. These include
ododem, clan, band, and tribe.
Over time, the Anishinabek developed a thorough knowledge
of their environment. Through hunting, fishing, gathering, agricultural, and
medicinal practices, they learned how to use natural resources. They found in
wood, stone, clay, and plants all they needed to live in West Michigan. Many
members of Anishinabe were hunters and gathers and took great pride in their
work. So much that in the 1980s, the State of Michigan began regulating hunting
and fishing, claiming that Indians could fish only under state regulations.
These rules ignored provisions in the U.S. Constitution stating that only the
federal government could regulate Indian tribes. Problems arose as many Indians
continued to fish without their license. Fast forward deep into the 20th
century, many Anishinabek risked arrest, paid court fines, saw their boats and
nets confiscated, or went to jail to protect their rights. Finally in 1979 U.S.
District court ruled that the treaties guaranteed the Anishinabek the right to
hunt and fish in their ancestral lands. Hunting and gathering wasn’t so much as life style choice for them
but more so the whole source of their economy and without they wouldn’t be able to survive for generation after
the first treaty to be passed related to the Anishinabe people. In between the
1930s and 1940s, the federal government created an Indian Arts and Crafts
Workshop at Cross Village. Working through the Works Progress Administration
(WPA), the program provided jobs to Indians producing “traditional” arts and crafts, such as baskets,
quills, and furniture. While the WPA provided temporary income for a few, it
did not train them in business skills so that Anishinabe-owned enterprises
could develop. But the program did raise public awareness of Anishinabe arts
and helped in the revival.
The museum had plenty of extra information for you to
read about. But what caught my eye the most out of the whole exhibit, was in
the far back corner sat a full case talking about the stereotypes and discrimination
that Indians would face every day. On top of that, they had a full video
section focused on Anishinabe Identity and the culture norms that are followed
with that. All in all the 2 minute video left me in some kind of aw… At how different they look at things in
the world and how different values can be from person to person.
When looking at
the big picture, you have to think of what it’d
be like to apply information that you have about another culture without being using
stereotypes that could offend anyone or others in anyway. On a professional
about the same thing. You want to be courteous and careful of the ways you may
interact with specific cultures. Even something like the slightest hand
movement could mean a gracious thing to one culture while it could have a
degrading meaning in another.
In the professional world, stereo typical acts are shown
daily at companies and businesses both big and small. There have been multiple
times where businesses have shown some type of stereo typical behavior towards
an employee or customer whether that be purposeful or not it is still
unacceptable. One example of this is when businesses distribute out workloads
they tend to give woman the needy, clean, and sometimes very simple jobs to
complete, whereas men receive the brute, hardworking jobs. But these stereo
stop after hours, even in the social world you see stereotypes just in a bit of
a different way. People may judge you based on being a different race, gender,
weight, hair color, sexuality, anything. In these two cases it’s a matter of just putting your pre-conceived
notions to the side and seeing the person for who they really are.
One of the most important concepts I have learned from
doing this project is to always be aware of your surroundings. Even something
like a nod or specific type of body language can be disrespectful in a different
culture, this is very important when meeting new people because you never want
to start off with a bad first introduction. Also to always keep pre-conceived
ideas about a specific ethnicity, gender, etc. to the side and meet all new
people with an open mind.
Throughout my research I wasn’t
sure what to think of Indians, I was raised in a family where we did not
stereotype or discriminate against people of other race, religion, or color. I
was taught to treat all individuals equally and that just because someone looks
mean they are. So I found it difficult to come up with pre-determined ideas
about them, after going through the museum I walked out with more questions
than I had before I walked in. Seeing how Indians were treated by Europeans, made
me wonder how they could possibly get away with it? Moving people out of their
Native Land with nowhere to go, parents
having to send children away for school for years on end, because they need to
go out and search for a job. The most outrageous thing that I read about was
when the Anishinabek was going through the “Boarding
school period.” From
1879-Mid 20th century the Government
funded boarding schools for Indian children to go to. These boarding schools
were used to teach kids skills such as Shoemaking, Carpentry, or Cooking. But in
reality, the schools tried to stamp out Indian culture. Kids would be punished for
using their native language and would face strict discipline and also be
required to wear military-style uniforms
to erase Native culture and replace it with “civilized” habits.
Overall I feel that The people of this place, were here
first and their existence was put at risk all because of the greediness of
Americans. Although the U.S. did try to help out at times the relationship
between Government and Indians has never been tight. But in an effort to change
this in 1854 the U.S. Government signed a treaty granted the Anishinabe
established permanent land in 3 states. Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, all
accepted these tribes into their state boundaries, the Anishinabek would then
begin to receive payments for land or natural resources as it is used by the
U.S. This same treaty is still in place today along with many other ones.
G. (2017, November 2). Native Americans Culture Days.
Retrieved December 4, 2017, from http://www.grpm.org/events/nacd/
Green, A. G. (n.d.). Anishinaabe Gathering Rights and
Market Arts: The WPA Indian Handicraft Project in Michigan. Retrieved December
14, 2017, from http://www.academia.edu/13713049/Anishinaabe_Gathering_Rights_and_Market_Arts_The_WPA_Indian_Handicraft_Project_in_Michigan
Koppelman, K. L. (2017). Understanding human
differences: multicultural education for a diverse America. Boston: