The BU Arts Initiative is proud to sponsor Indigenous Voices in the Americas – an interdisciplinary program series highlighting the artistic voices of Indigenous People from both North and South America beginning in the Spring 2021 semester and running through the 2021/2022 academic year.
Boston University currently sits on the unceded ancestral land of the Massachusett People.
Local Resources and Other Information
Indigenous Peoples Day Massachusetts
Native American Tribes in MA – History
The Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag
Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe
Why Give An Indigenous Land Acknowledgment (and How to Make It Matter)
Megan Red Shirt Shaw (Oglala Lakota) – Beyond the Land Acknowledgement: College “LAND BACK” or Free Tuition for Native Students
Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgment from the Native Governance Center
Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs
The Pluralism Project – Harvard University – Native American Traditions Religious Centers in Boston
Harvard University Native American Program
First Nations Knowledge Center Book List
Enduring Legacies: Native Case Studies
Native Appropriations – a forum for discussing representations of Native peoples, including stereotypes, cultural appropriation, news, activism, and more.
Land Reparations & Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit
Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness – Our mission is to preserve Native American cultural traditions; to assist Native American residents with basic needs and educational expenses; to advance public knowledge and understanding that helps dispel inaccurate information about Native Americans; and to work towards racial equality by addressing inequities across the region.
North American Indian Center of Boston – Providing cultural, social, educational, and professional related services to the New England Native American
Boston Native American Trail – Memorials, Monuments, Landmarks, and Historic Markers
Institute for New England Native American Studies – UMass Boston
National Congress of American Indians
Arts Events and Organizations and Reports
The American Indian Arts and Crafts Act
Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian Museum
Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House by renowned artist Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Choctaw-Cherokee) – Installation at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum June 4, 2021 til June 1, 2022.
Listen to Sipu by Morgan (Mwalim) J. Peters – a captivating and powerful story that illuminates Watertown’s Indigenous history produced by the New Rep Theater in Watertown June 11 to July 5, 2021
New England Foundation for the Arts Centering Justice: Indigenous Artists’ Perspectives on Public Art – a series of conversations organized in collaboration with NEFA’s Public Art team
First American Art Magazine – Native Arts Magazine featuring an article on Elizabeth James-Perry’s Raven Reshapes Boston: A Native Corn Garden at the MFA
Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance – strengthens and supports the Northeast Indigenous artist community by providing opportunities that will promote, protect, preserve, and continue the artistic vitality of work in the region.
Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) – supports Native artists in the United States whose innovative and multifaceted approaches to literature, dance, visual arts, film, storytelling, music, and traditional arts strengthen culture, foster creativity and economic opportunity, and impact issues of social progress, environmental sustainability, and cultural equity
NACF Report on Native Arts and Culture: Resilience, Reclamation, and Relevance Convening
Spring 2022 events
January 18 through March 1 – BU Art Galleries (Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery 855 Commonwealth Avenue)
Life Altering: Selections from a Kansas City Collection. Featuring work by Jeffrey Gibson (Chocktaw/Cherokee) and Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke/Crow) along with nearly a dozen other contemporary artists. Created over the past 12 years, the works in this exhibit explore a rich array of meaning relevant to our present time. Free and open to the public.
February through May, 2022 – George Sherman Union 2nd floor landing
MASHQ & Winter Dreams by Elizabeth James-Perry – enrolled with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head – Aquinnah in Massachusetts. She practices traditional and contemporary art forms that include sculptural wampum adornment and woven quillwork, Native textiles and watercolor illustrations. Presented by the BU Arts Initiative. See below for a conversation and demonstration with Elizabeth on May 2nd.
Feb. 11-13, and April 22-24, 1 pm – Women & Masks virtual research conference
The Women & Masks conference explores the myriad intersections of the subjects, masks and women via talks, workshops, papers, panels, and performances. Featuring Skeena Reece (Metis/Cree and Tsimshian/Gitksan descent), Débora and Ana Correa (Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani), and Anne Lambright (Chickasaw).
February 27, 2022 – 12:30 pm to 5 pm – Bus trip to DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Jeffrey Gibson’s (Mississippi Choctaw/Cherokee) Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House and Infinite Indigenous Queer Love. $5 BU Students only. Registration open in January 2022
March 22, 24 & 29| BU School of Music Residency with Anaís Azul
Anaís Azul is a Peruvian immigrant and California based singer-songwriter, composer, and teaching artist. Their artistry engages with music as a tool for community building, cross-genre collaboration, and collective healing. This presentation and discussion will help participants understand how they can build a sustainable life as artists. March 22, 4 pm at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground (808 Commonwealth Ave – Being A Queer Latinx Artist in the 21st Century: A Conversation on the Intersections of Identity, Creativity, and Finding a Career Path. March 24, 8 pm at the CFA Concert Hall (865 Commonwealth Ave) – Anaís Azul Live with Time’s Arrow. March 29, 9 am in CFA Room 171 (865 Commonwealth Ave.) – Composers Forum.
March 23, 2022 | 6 pm – Storytelling Sovereignty with Monika Ille Monika Ille (Abenaki First Nation of Odanak) at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground event space. 808 Commonwealth Ave.Registration Required.
Monika is the CEO of APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) in Winnipeg, Canada, the first Indigenous-owned network in the world. Monika has spent nearly 30 years in the broadcasting industry, including at the Société Radio-Canada and the National Film Board (NFB).
March 28 through April 1 | Indigenous History, Languages & Cultures Week
The Department of Romance Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies present: Indigenous History, Languages & Cultures Week / Semana de la historia, lenguas y culturas de los pueblos originarios. Speaker presentations will take place via Zoom from 4 to 5:30 PM, followed by student presentations from 5:30 to 6. You are welcome to attend all or part of any session. Information about the presenters may be found here.
March 31, 2022 | 5:30 pm – Indigenous Perspectives on Sustainability and the Arts with JoAnn Chase (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Indian Nation) COM ’85 at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground event space, 808 Commonwealth Ave. Co-presented with BU Sustainability and the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground. Registration Required
JoAnn is the Director of the American Indian Environmental Office, Office of International and Tribal Affairs in the EPA, and she has recently partnered with music icon Nona Hendryx and social justice innovator Makani Themba to launch SisterSMATR (Science, Math, Art, Technology, Robotics) which leverages art and community to close the gender gap in science and technology. JoAnn has previously served as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.
March 31 to April 7, 2022 – Dakota Mace (Diné) in residency at the School of Visual Arts, co-sponsored with the BU Arts Initiative. Event Details TBD.
Dakota Mace is a Diné (Navajo) photographer and textile artist who focuses on translating the language of Diné weaving history and beliefs through alternative photography techniques, weaving, beadwork, and papermaking.
April 19, 2022, | 6 to 7 pm – Indigenous American Culinary Arts Celebration with Krysia Villon (MET 2020).
Presented by the Gastronomy & Food Studies Program. Open to BU community only. Limited space, RSVP required. Villon is a Peruvian-American chef and food historian. She is the daughter of a Peruvian immigrant father and a Boston-born mother of Polish and Scottish/English descent; and she believes in food sovereignty for all of us inhabiting this Earth.
April 22, 2022 | 12 pm to 1 pm – Giving/Taking Notice: A Talk with STÓ:LŌ Ethnomusicologist Dylan Robinson
A virtual talk by Indigenous ethnomusicologist Dr. Dylan Robinson (xwélmexw [Stó:lō/Skwah]) of the University of British Colombia, author of the acclaimed Hungry Listening. Robinson is an artist, curator, and writer. From 2015-2022, he served as the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University. His book, Hungry Listening (University Minnesota Press, 2020), examines Indigenous and settler colonial practices of listening, and was awarded best first book by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Canadian Association for Theatre Research, and the Labriola Centre American Indian National Book Award. Use this link to join the talk. Presented by the Department of Musicology & Ethnomusicology in the School of Music, College of Fine Arts.
May 2nd, 2022 | 5:00 pm. Seeing Turtle Island Through An Artist Lens: Reviving Connections with the Natural Environment – with Elizabeth James Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag)| Terrace Lounge (2nd Floor), George Sherman Union- 775 Commonwealth Ave. (Register here)
Elizabeth makes distinctively robust and textured wampum shell jewelry, porcupine quillwork, and northeastern twined textiles. She creates substantial heirloom quality adornment items reflecting her Algonquian diplomatic heritage. In cultivating many of the plants used in natural dyes at her home in the Southcoast area of Massachusetts, her gardens serve to seed the suburbs with important Native species. The rest are wild harvested in a sustainable way.
September 18, 1 pm – BU Global Music Festival on Alpert Mall (BU Beach)
Eastern Medicine Singers is an Algonquin Drum Group from Woonsocket/Providence, RI dedicated to keeping the eastern woodlands American Indian culture alive. The drum is made up of RI, NY, NJ & Southeastern Massachusetts Tribes.
October 29-31, 1 pm – Women & Masks virtual research conference
The Women & Masks conference explores the myriad intersections of the subjects, masks and women via talks, workshops, papers, panels, and performances. Featuring Skeena Reece (Metis/Cree and Tsimshian/Gitksan descent), Débora and Ana Correa (Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani), and Anne Lambright (Chickasaw). The conference also runs Oct. 29-31, Feb. 11-13, and April 22-24.
October 8 through 24 – Caution: Cultural Emergency
Caution: Cultural Emergency – Public art installation by Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota). Co-sponsored by the American & New England Studies Program. More information soon.
October 21, 6 pm – Art & Indigeneity: A Conversation with Erin Genia and Elizabeth James-Perry, Moderated by Professor Lynne Allen.
Join Elizabeth and Erin as they discuss their work at BU this Fall, Caution: Cultural Emergency and Bear Map & Wampumpeak Belt. They will also discuss their larger body of work and experiences as Indigenous artists. Free and open to the public with registration.
November 16, 12 pm – 1:30 pm (EST) – Curating the Arctic: Northern Museums and Decolonization (virtual).
Museums in and of the North are leading the way in creative conversations about how museums and collections can generate new narratives with old objects. Just us for a round table discussion with Arctic museum curators and scholars speaking about museums of engines of Indigenous cultural renewal, community knowledge, decolonial efforts, creative innovation and more.
December 3, 4 & 5 – Patterns of Wind at the Booth Theatre – 820 Commonwealth Ave.
The BU School of Theatre presents a Booth Production world-premiere. A convergence of stories of lineage, legacy, and land. Developed and facilitated by SOT resident guest artist Ty Defoe (Ojibwe + Oneida Nations) in collaboration with guest artist Katherine Freer. Interweaving Indigenous oral storytelling traditions and contemporary multimedia performance, Patterns of Wind is a process of creation and exploration. Drawing from personal narrative and blood memory, the ensemble will devise an experience that uplifts the interconnectedness of all living things.
Thursday, January 28 | 12:00 pm EST; 10:00 am MST; 5:00 pm GMT
Ataramik (Always): A Conversation with Reneltta Arluk
Reneltta Arluk (Inuvialuit, Dene, Cree), Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Director, Akpik Theatre
Part of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies Arctic Environmental Humanities Workshop Series
Tuesday, February 9 | 3:30 pm EST; 5:30pm CLST; 8:30pm GMT
Mapuche in Spanish / Chilean in Mapuzugun: Signs of a Mixed Poetic with Huilliche-Chilean poet Jaime Luis Huenún. Introduction by Sergio Mansilla Torres, Chilean poet, scholar, and professor of philosophy and humanities at Universidad Austral de Chile
Presented by the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies Center for Latin American Studies. Co-sponsored by the BU Arts Initiative.