Artist Leadership Program, Smithsonian 2013

DSC_0482My participation in the Artist Leadership Program, Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC came to a conclusion this past February in Parry Sound Ontario Canada. The program provided me with the rare opportunity to connect historical material culture with cultural language preservation in an educational context. For the first segment of this program I spent two weeks in November documenting and gathering as much information from NMAI, NMNH, NAA, Library of Congress, and SI Folklife about the cultural material, photos, and music that comes from my people the Anishnaabe/Ojibway of Wasauksing First Nation and the surrounding region where I grew up in Ontario Canada. For the second part of this program I shared my current Brooklyn NY based art projects and historical research with students in the Ojibway Cultural Language class at my old high school taught by Johna Hupfield. Over 800 native and non-native students attend this school and five native communities are bused in from Wasauksing, Henvey Inlet, Moose Deer Point, Magnetawan and Shawanaga First Nation. Together we asked the question ‎”Aaniish enjii-mno-nokii?” (“What is the good work you do?”) and the students talked in Ojibway on what the NMAI collection images meant to them. To learn more about the Artist Leadership program, visit

Photo by John Hupfield

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