cover of NMAI Spring 2017

Vol. 18 No. 1Spring 2017

On the cover: Museum-sponsored digs unearthed some of the early treasures of George Gustav Heyes’s Museum of the American Indian (MAI), the predecessor of our collection. This seat from the Manteno culture of Ecuador, circa A.D. 500 to 1500, was excavated by Marshall H. Saville between 1906 and 1908, with the support of the Heye Foundation. Although no one is certain, it might have been used by spiritual leaders for astronomy, weather predictions or public ceremonies for agriculture. Other highlights from these excavations are now on display at the National Museum of the American Indian – New York in the exhibition Ceramica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed, through December. This tradition continues in the centenary year of the MAI with the work of L. Antonio Curet, the Museum’s Curator of Archaeology, at the Tibes ceremonial site in Puerto Rico.

Manteno seat, A.D. 500–1500. Cerro Jaboncillo, on the coast of Mantas, Ecuador. Stone; 15.7" x 26.8" x 29.5". Collected by George H. Pepper. 1/6380.

In This Issue

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100 Years and Counting

A symposium marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Museum of the American Indian brings reflections on the achievements of the predecessor of our Museum and its founder George Gustav Heye, as well as recollections of the transition to a Smithsonian institution.
Pomo baskets stored on open shelving in the Research Branch of the NMAI

100 Years and Counting

Recollections of the transition to a Smithsonian institution.
Mba’e Marangatu. Pai Tavytera wooden altar

The Guarani Altar

The Pai Tavytera, a group of Paraguay’s Guarani Indians, carved a ceremonial altar for donation to the National Museum of the American Indian as a way of preserving their culture. Deceptively simple, it tells a deep story about their place in the cosmos.
Aerial photograph of the Indigenous Ceremonial Center of Tibes

Unearthing the Story of Tibes

When Hurricane Eloise brushed southern Puerto Rico in 1975, it uncovered an ancient ceremonial complex buried for more than seven centuries. L. Antonio Curet, the Museum’s Curator of Archaeology, reports on the changing interpretations of its picture of indigenous social structure.

Confessions of an Eco-Tourist

A traveler from our Museum agonizes over the morality of a package tour to a Kichwa village on the Ecuadoran headwaters of the Amazon. He goes, anyway.
Ellison Brown (Narragansett) winning the 1939 Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon has historic meaning for Northeastern Indian runners, some of whom came to national prominence in this storied race and left an indelible mark on its route. For Indian Country, the race is a continuation of the great indigenous tradition of long-distance running.

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