This series is made possible by the generous support of Humanities Montana.

Additional support provided by Northcutt Steele Gallery, MSUB Library, MSUB Department of Art, MSUB Foundation, and American Indian Outreach.

MSUB's Northcutt Steele Gallery and the MSU Billings Library will host a free series of presentations and community conversations in conjunction with an art exhibition and a didactic exhibition of historical materials held by MSUB library. The lecture series responds to an exhibition by contemporary Crow artist Wendy Red Star (on display October 20 through December 1, 2016) and features presentations by local, regional, and national humanities scholars exploring Native American experience, cultural identity, and representation.

All lectures are at 6:30pm in LI148.

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October 20–December 1, 2016

"Peelatchiwaaxpaash/Medicine Crow (Raven) and the 1880 Crow Peace Delegation"

presented by Wendy Red Star

Gallery 8am – 4pm M-F

Gallery will remain open till 8:30pm on the evenings of the presenations.

Tues. Oct. 18, 2016

"The 1880 Crow Indian Delegation to Washington, D.C.: Cultural Identity, Colonial Policies, and Intercultural Images"

presented by Dr. C. Adrian Heidenreich

Followed by interactive audience conversation. This talk will contextualize the delegation trip in terms of reservation-era policies and offer an historical overview of Medicine Crow's drawings and the other historical documentation of the delegation included in the MSUB Library exhibition.

C. Adrian Heidenreich is Professor Emeritus (Native American Studies & Anthropology), MSUB. He earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology with minor work in Visual Communication from University of Oregon. An adopted member of a Crow (Apsáalooke) family, Heidenreich is author of “The Crow Indian Delegation to Washington, D. C., in 1880," “Background and Interpretation of Crow and Gros Ventre Ledger Art Done at Crow Agency, Montana Between 1879 and 1897; Recovery and Preservation of the Barstow Collection; and Listing of Works” in Catalog of the Charles H. Barstow Collection (Yellowstone Art Center).

Tues. Oct. 25, 2016

"From Contemporary to Traditional: Wendy Red Star and American Indian Contemporary Arts in Perspective"

presented by John Lukavic

This talk will look at how contemporary arts, when paired with a perception of the passing of time, affect our understanding of the past.  Drawing from the work of Wendy Red Star and other leading Northern Plains artists, we will also explore how history, photography, and historical Indigenous arts become modern inspiration for artists working today.

John Kukavic
John Lukavic is associate curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum. In this role he conducts and presents scholarly research, develops exhibitions, collects Native arts, and disseminates knowledge of the DAM’s American Indian, African, and Oceanic collections. Lukavic is also responsible for DAM’s collaboration with Native American communities and the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). He has curated exhibitions of American Indian art, including Why We Dance: American Indian Art in Motion (2016), Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967—1980 (2015), Revolt 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz (2015), Sovereign: Independent Voices (2013) and a Hopi art addition to the exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land (2013). He has lectured widely across the United States and regularly consults and contributes content related to American Indian arts to other major institutions and exhibitions.

Thurs. Oct. 27, 2016

Artist Talk 

presented by  Wendy Red Star

Red Star will discuss the evolution of her project, and its relation to the documentation of the delegation, and representations of Medicine Crow. Her presentation will also address issues of gender identity and representation and the relations of this project to other contemporary Native American artists.

Wendy Red Star, an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe, earned her M.F.A. in sculpture at UCLA. A working artist living in Portland, Oregon, she has been an adjunct art instructor at Portland State University and has curated a number of contemporary Native American art exhibitions. Her work is included in the collections and exhibits of the National Museum of the American Indian, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, and many others. She has managed Chief Plenty Coups State Park in Pryor, MT.

Tues. Nov 1, 2016

Memory and Identity”

presented by  Elizabeth Guheen


Behind the Scenes: Objects that Inspire Crow Indian Art

presented by Rebecca West

Memory and Identity

Whose memory and whose identity?  In the Barstow Collection ledger works the presumptive narrative of each drawing is defined in Barstow’s handwritten account across the pages of the images. These accounts are used to title each drawing. The implication in each is that Barstow is recording on behalf of the artist a kind of “who’s who” in these visually interpreted narrative accounts of events, social customs, battles or past and present experiences.  In several instances discrepancies between what we see the author of the narrative, the artist, has drawn, and what their de facto interpreter, Barstow, has written, at the very least calls into question one of the more intriguing mysteries behind these works. Did Barstow write each account at the time he (most likely) purchased, or traded for, the drawing? Or did he sometimes write an account after the fact, thereby recalling on his own memory of what he was told? The collector’s visual insertion into the provenance and meaning behind each image, and the collection as a whole, raises many questions about the intent of the artists and the social and political environment in which the drawings were both created and collected. Barstow’s role as recorder is just one of the curious ways in which the collection diverges from other ledger drawings and in which they assume a third role, that of witness to the reservation system as it unfolded and altered the artists’ lives.

Rebecca West
Behind the Scenes: Objects that Inspire Crow Indian Art

Rebecca West, Curator of the Plains Indian Museum of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West will present the types of material culture, specifically from 19th and 20th century Crow Indian collections that appear in the works of Wendy Red Star as well as in the Barstow Ledger Drawings. Centuries of Crow culture are referenced within these works, which are works of art in their own right with a meaning to be appreciated far beyond the visual. West holds a Masters of Liberal Studies from University of Oklahoma. She manages the care, storage, and exhibition of the Center’s collections, develops and participates in outreach activities, programs, and publications, and conducts collections-related research and exhibitions with an emphasis on educating the public and advancing knowledge of Plains Indian cultures.

curated image
Elizabeth Guheen is Director and Chief Curator of The Charles M. Bair Family Museum in Martinsdale, MT. She received an M.F.A. from the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla and held a post-graduate Fellowship in Art History and Museum Studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Guheen previously served as Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in Roswell, NM where she researched and wrote about the Plains Indian objects. When she was Senior Curator at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Guheen curated and mounted the first Kevin Red Star retrospective.

Tues., Nov 15, 2016

A Conversation on Crow Identity and Resilience through the Arts”

presented by Dr. Janine Pease and Luella Brien

They will present personal reflections on Wendy Red Star's work and moderate a conversation with the audience on its meanings and significance for generations of Crow and Northern Plains Indian women.

Janine Pease is currently a faculty member in the Social Sciences and Humanities at Little Big Horn College, where she also served as the first President. She holds D.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees in Adult and Higher Education from Montana State University Bozeman. An enrolled member of the Crow Indian tribe, Pease has been honored as one of the fourteen most important American Indians leaders of the twentieth century in The New Warriors by R. D. Edmunds. She writes a regular column for the Big Horn County News and the Billings Gazette, titled "Baawaa’lilaau – Gives Advice." She is author of many articles in books and journals, including “Helps the People - The Dance of the Seasons” in American Indian Stories of Success and “New Voices: Ancient Words” in Tribal College Journal.

Luella N. Brien works at St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, MT, which enrolls predominantly Crow and Northern Cheyenne students, and has been an instructor of Communication Arts at Little Bighorn College. She is an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe and has worked as a reporter for the Billings Gazette, Great Falls Tribune, Missoulian, and Seattle Times newspapers. She is founder of Four Points Media, a multipurpose media network with focus on hyperlocal news, publishing, and commentary. She is author of "Wendy Red Star on the Rise" in Native Peoples magazine (2014).

Nov. 29, 2016

Desja Eagle Tail in full regalia
Native American Music: A journey in time through Native American Music with an emphasis on Crow traditional songs”

Musical presentation by  Desja Eagle Tail

The presentation will give an overview of Native American music including the different types of Native American music which are social songs, honor songs, spiritual songs. 

Desja Eagle Tail is an enrolled member of the Aapsalooke (Crow) tribe of Montana. Billings-based MusiEco Project awarded her as Montana Indian Musician of the Year 2015. She graduated from MSU Billings in 2015 as the first graduate of the B.A.-Music Business program at MSU Billings. She currently lives in Spokane Valley, WA where she is continuing her career as a singer, recording artist and presenter.

the work of Wendy Red Star