Native American Arts Lunch Series Draws Overflow Crowd

Native American Arts Lunch Series Draws Overflow Crowd
February 15, 2017

The History of Art Department’s Spring 2017 partnership with the Native American Cultural Center started with a record turnout for a NACC weekday lunch event. Featuring Professor Margaret Bruchac from the University of Pennsylvania and continuing conversations begun in Visiting Professor Ruth Phillips’ Native American Art History courses, the “Brown Bag” lunch series drew three dozen participants to the Native American Cultural Center on February 10th.

Speaking about the historic, cultural, and artistic significance of wampum belts across Northeastern Native nations, Professor Bruchac’s presentation resonated with the Department of Art History and NACC students. As current NACC member and Divinity School graduate student, Sean Massa, for example, relayed:

“I think many of us were moved by and could relate to Bruchac’s own academic calling, one of much struggle and perseverance, that led her towards archival research. Though I was familiar with her research in prior years, this was the first opportunity in which I was able to hear Bruchac’s story holistically as well as the contextual significance of wampum belts in relation to indigenous historical accounts and conceptions of sacredness. I think many of us upon leaving our lunch not only felt greater appreciation for the value of wampum but also a desire to utilize our personal narratives and positionalities as students at Yale in thinking of new and exciting ways to promote an indigenous agenda here on campus.”

Bruchac and Phillips both discussed current efforts within academic and museum communities to more forcefully recognize the longstanding presence of Indigenous arts and to engage more collaboratively with tribal members and communities to ensure the curatorial stewardship of such artistic works of cultural significance and patrimony.

Three additional Brown Bag lunches are scheduled through this partnership throughout the Spring Semester.