Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big Exhibition on the Iroquois Opens in Germany

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

A major exhibition on the Iroquois has just opened in Bonn, Germany at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany.

"On the Trails of the Iroquois" opened March 22 and will run until August 4. Accompanying it is an outfoor installation -- "The Iroquois Longhouse and The Iroquois Garden Landscape" -- which features the reconstruction of an Iroquois longhouse.

The exhibition description notes:

Of the hundreds of Native American peoples, only a few have over the centuries engaged the European and Euro-American imagination to the extent that the Iroquois did. This fascination is in a large measure due to the outstanding role the Five (and later Six) Nations played in the arena of colonial encounters in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century North America, which gained them a reputation as fierce warriors and skilled diplomats and is also reflected in a host of fictional literature. But European interest has always far exceeded this preoccupation with political and military excellence, and Western intellectual struggle with Iroquois culture has left enduring imprints not only on the history of anthropology, but also on popular culture, the peace and women's movements, and even efforts to establish the foundation of alternative lifestyes.

Curated by Dr. Sylvia Kasprycki, it states, the exhibition, 
will attempt to trace the development of Iroquois culture from its origins up to its vibrant articulations in the present-day United States and Canada, following their varied history through colonial times characterized by war, trade, and European missionary efforts; the subsequent weakening of their power through loss of land and political autonomy and the eventual break-up of the League after the American Revolution; the cultural transformations during the Reservation period; and their strive for sovereignty in the twentieth century up to very contemporary concerns.
Moccasins, Iroquois, Ca. 1820 
Deer skin, porcupine quills
© Museum der Kulturen, Basel
Bringing together for the first time art and artifacts from major collections in Europe, the United States, and Canada and conceived in close cooperation with Iroquois artists, curators, and intellectuals, the exhibition aspires to a multi-layered representation of both Western appropriations and imaginings of Iroquois culture as well as contemporary indigenous voices on their history and present-day identities. As Tuscarora artist and writer Richard W. Hill expressed it, "it can safely be said that today, the Haudenosaunee define themselves through their diversity," as each generation "adds to that layered definition, taking the artistic expressions of the past, the oral traditions of their ancestors, and add that to their own life experiences." This large-scale exhibition aims to portray this diversity and the Iroquois people's continuous creative adaptations to ever-changing living conditions over time, presenting approximately 500 objects on about 1600 square meters of representative exhibition space (in addition to parts of the 9000 square meters roof garden) at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn.

Friday, March 1, 2013

RIP Cowboy actor Dale Robertson

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

Dale Robertson, an Oklahoma-born actor who specialized in cowboy and western roles in the movies and TV, has died at the age of 89.

I remember him best as the star of the old TV western "Tales of Wells Fargo," from 1957 through 1962.

The obit on CNN states:
The role of a cowboy was not a stretch for Robertson, who grew up on an Oklahoma horse ranch. He and his wife raised horses in Oklahoma until moving to a San Diego suburb last summer, Susan Robertson said. 
Robertson never sought formal acting training, based on advice that he should keep his own personality, according to his biography. 
In the 1966 TV series "Iron Horse," Robertson played a character who won a railway in a high-stakes poker game. 
He hosted, along with Ronald Reagan, episodes of "Death Valley Days" during the 1960s.
Film roles, also mostly Westerns, included "Devil's Canyon," "Sitting Bull," and "Dakota Incident."