September 24 - December 22, 2005
We’re Still Here was a stark and visual reminder that Native Americans are still very much alive, active, and present in New England. Unlike Native peoples from out West, who tend to take center stage in the American imagination, Native people from New England are often overlooked, or assumed to have “vanished” or “assimilated” long ago. However, from the still-unrecognized Abenaki of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Canada, to the economically successful Mohegan and Pequots of Connecticut, Native people in the northeast are thriving, precisely by embracing modern ways as they adapt, re-invent, and preserve their cultures.
We’re Still Here, celebrates the work of contemporary indigenous New England artists as they recreate and invent from their Native traditions. Some, like the Abenaki basket maker Jeanne Brink, are deeply embedded in longstanding practices and forms. Others, like the poet Cheryl Savageau, who also makes abstract quilts, are exploring other folk traditions from a Native perspective. Still others, like Donna Williams and Chris Bullock, work with Native objects and styles from across the United States and across history, bringing to this region a more pan-Indian sensibility
Special thanks go to Chris Charlebois, UNH alumnus and former president of the Native American Cultural Association (NACA), and Siobhan Senier who, with her students in ENG 739 (American Indian Literature), helped select and recruit these artists, and who also resurrected the UNH powwow for September 24-25, 2005.