Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Exploring African-Native American Identity to Open at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in New Mexico

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center will open the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas” focusing on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dual African and Native American ancestry.

“This exhibition brings forth an obscure topic that in reality, has its roots in all of our lives and that is, that the blending of races has always taken place among the Native and African American peoples.” said Ron Solimon, President/CEO of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “It challenges us all to discover who we really are so that it can shape who we can become.”

Through the themes of policy, community, creative resistance and lifestyles, the exhibition tells stories of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. “IndiVisible,” produced by the National Museum of the American Indian in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), will be on view through September 24, 2011 and then will continue to travel to museums around the nation.

“The topic of African-Americans is one that touches a great number of individuals through family histories, tribal histories and personal identities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide, alienation from our ancestral homelands, and the exhibition acknowledges the strength and resilience we recognize in one another today.”

“We are proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. African American oral tradition is full of stories about ‘Black Indians,’ with many black families claiming Indian blood.”

The exhibition was curated by leading scholars, educators and community leaders including Gabrielle Tayac, (Piscataway), Robert Keith Collins, (African-Choctaw descent), Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Judy Kerèsz, Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag) and Thunder Williams (Afro-Carib).

African-Native Americans from across North America share their perspectives in a 10-minute video in the exhibition.