'We're Still Here:' Native American exhibit explores past and present … – MassLive.com

Springfield Museums announce a new exhibit, "We’re Still Here," opening September 1 in Native Hall of the Springfield Science Museum. Nayana LaFond is one of the voices represented in the exhibit.
A new exhibit, “We’re Still Here,” opening on Thursday at the Springfield Science Museum explores the connections between Native peoples roots and the present day.
Springfield resident Aprell May curated the exhibit and drew from her research into her Native American past. May is a member of the Native American Inter-Tribal Council of Western Massachusetts and has ancestry from the Mohawk tribe of the great Iroquois Confederacy. May is also a reporter for The Republican newspaper.
“This exhibit was created as a soul project,” said May in a press release. She had worked as an intern for Springfield Museums two years ago and continues to work with the Museums as a consultant with the Native Voices Initiative.
“Researching my family roots and how my tribe, the Mohawk of the Iroquois Confederacy, migrated from upstate New York to New England was so important to me,” May said, noting that she often did not talk about her Native heritage when growing up.
After spending time with her great aunt, who herself is a member of the Inter-Tribal Council, May began to embrace her heritage. In her culture, May said she is what some might call a “Lost Bird” or a “Missing Feather” because she did not grow up knowing the traditions and cultures of her Indigenous heritage.
“In my effort to preserve my ancestry I invoke a journey of discovery and have applied my findings in this real-world exhibit,” May said. “In the voices of many people, the exhibit highlights contemporary communities who are working, teaching, and celebrating for the next seven generations.”
Museum officials said the “We’re Still Here” exhibit is part of an important initiative the Museums are taking on with involvement of Native consultants to reinvent the Native American Hall at the Springfield Science Museum. The project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“The Springfield Museums are committed to respectfully recognizing the history, traditions, and ongoing culture of Native communities that were and still are located in the region,” said Jenny Powers, Director of the Springfield Science Museum, where Native American Hall is located. “The goal of We’re Still Here is to bridge the past to the present.”
The Springfield Museums are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards St. in downtown Springfield. Hours of the museums are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. On Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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