MSUB presents, “The 1880 Crow Delegation to D.C.: Cultural Identity, Representation, and Legacy,” for fall Library Lecture Series
Megan Thomas, MSUB Library, 657-1655
Dr. Leanne Gilbertson, Northcutt Steele Gallery, 657-2903
University Relations, 657-2266
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings’ Library and the Northcutt Steele Gallery will host a free series of presentations and community conversations in conjunction with an art exhibition at the gallery and an exhibition of historical materials.
The series, “The 1880 Crow Delegation to D.C.: Cultural Identity, Representation, and Legacy,” responds to an exhibition by contemporary Crow/Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star, which will be on display in the Northcutt Steele Gallery October 20 through December 1.
This project is being supported by Humanities Montana with additional support provided by Northcutt Steele Gallery, MSUB Library, MSUB Foundation, MSUB Department of Art, and MSUB American Indian Outreach.
Curated and coordinated by MSUB art history faculty and gallery director, Dr. Leanne Gilbertson, the series features presentations by and conversations with local, regional, and national humanities scholars and artists exploring Native American art, experience, cultural identity, and representation.
The show has been a labor of love for Gilbertson, who has been bringing the show’s many pieces together for two years.
“I was looking for a contemporary Crow artist to feature and came across Wendy’s work. I reached out to her and was thrilled when she responded,” Gilbertson said. “When she was back for the Crow Fair two summers ago we discovered she was working with the Barstow (Ledger Drawings) and the Portland Art Museum to commission plush (toys) based off the drawings.”
The ledger drawings will be discussed during Dr. C. Adrian Heidenreich’s lecture, which opens the series. He is an MSUB professor emeritus of Native American Studies and Anthropology.
In 1880 six Crow leaders, Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Old Crow (Raven), Iichíilachkash/Long Elk, Alaxchiiaahush/Plenty Coups, Bia Eélisaash/Large Stomach Woman (Pregnant Woman) aka Two Belly, Déaxitchish/Pretty Eagle, and Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow (Raven) were selected as delegates to meet with government officials in Washington, D.C. The Crow leaders, accompanied by U.S. government agents and interpreters went from the Crow Agency, then located in Absarokee, Montana, riding stagecoaches and trains across the nation.
“Medicine Crow drew pictures of many sights, including the U.S. Capitol Building, trains, steam boats and military gunboats on the Potomac River, and animals he saw,” Heidenreich said. “All these, as well as drawings of his military exploits, are part of the Barstow Ledger Drawings kept in the (MSUB) Library Special Collections.”
Red Star, descendent of Medicine Crow, lives and works in Portland where this installation, with digital reproductions of Medicine Crow’s ledger drawings, appeared at the Portland Art Museum in late 2014.
The re-installation of her project at MSUB marks the first time her project will be shown with Medicine Crow’s original drawings.
The opportunity to show this body of work so near her home and with the original Medicine Crow drawings is very meaningful to Red Star. She hopes the series of presentations and conversations extend an effort to “humanize Medicine Crow.”
“The single delegation portraits of Medicine Crow are the seed for the entire concept of the exhibition,” Red Star said. “I view this exhibition as my ultimate remake of Medicine Crow; a chance for me to tell the story behind the photographs. I want people to realize that the images of Medicine Crow are more than just a handsome Native man. The images represent a human being, a reservation era chief, the forming of the Crow Indian reservation, the loss of Crow lands, the changing of a people, and the resilience of a culture.”
Other presentations include an overview of the history of the Crow Peace Delegation, a discussion on issues in the Medicine Crow drawings and Red Star’s project, a conversation on Crow identity and resilience through the arts, and a musical performance focusing on traditional Crow songs.
Lecture series schedule:
Tuesday, October 18: Dr. C. Adrian Heidenreich, MSUB professor emeritus of Native American Studies and Anthropology. “The 1880 Crow Indian Delegation to Washington, D.C.: Cultural Identity, Colonial Policies, and Intercultural Images.”
Tuesday, October 25: Dr. John Lukavic, Associate Curator of Native Arts at Denver Art Museum. “From Contemporary to Traditional: Wendy Red Star and American Indian Contemporary Arts in Perspective.”
Thursday, October 27: Wendy Red Star: Multimedia and sculpture artist, as well as enrolled member of the Crow Tribe and descendant of the Crow Tribe. Artist talk.
Tuesday, November 1: Elizabeth Guheen, Director and Chief Curator of The Charles M. Bair Family Museum in Martinsdale, Montana. “Memory and Identity.” Rebecca West, Curator of Plains Indian Cultures and the Plains Indian Museum at Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. “Behind the Scenes: Objects that Inspire Crow Indian Art.”
Tuesday, November 15: Dr. Janine Pease, faculty member in the social sciences and humanities department at Little Big Horn College at Crow Agency and Luella Brien, faculty at St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana. “A Conversation on Crow Identity and Resilience Through the Arts.”
Tuesday, November 29: Desja Eagle Tail, recent MSUB graduate: “Native American Music: A journey in time though Native American Music with an emphasis on Crow traditional songs.” A musical presentation.
The Northcutt Steele Gallery will remain open until 8:30 p.m. on lecture series evenings and will feature the Wendy Red Star Art Exhibition, “Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Medicine Crow (Raven) and the 1880 Crow Peace Delegation,” from October 20 through December 1.
For more information: 2016-2017 Lecture Series