Past Event

Café Society: Who's Story is it to tell? Native American Art & History

The diverse cultures and backgrounds of America’s citizens is seen as one of the strongest pillars supporting our society, and the celebration of this diversity is a hallmark of our country. However, as recent controversies surrounding issues as disparate as the naming of sports teams and the opening of The National Museum of the American Indian attest, there are many who feel this celebration has crossed the line into exploitation. Images of Native American society have been woven into our communal consciousness from the moment the first white settlers arrived in the “New World.” In our globalized society, influences from around the planet are being embraced and incorporated into our existing culture in a myriad of ways, often with little thought given to the originators of these influences or the possible detrimental affects that this appropriation may have upon them.

In our rush to become an “Information Society,” the ideas, styles and beliefs of others are increasing becoming a valuable commodity. There is however, little discussion of the ethics of this commodification of culture. Ironically, many feel that even the best- intentioned celebration of our human diversity can result in the destruction of the very differences that we intend to lionize. When does celebration become exploitation, and what can be done to prevent it? What legal, moral and financial issues are raised by the appropriation of the culture of others into our own?

Join us at this week’s Cafe Society to discuss the appropriation of Native American art and culture.

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.