Americans: Major New Exhibition Asks, Why Do Images of American Indians Permeate American Life?
LAND O’LAKES BUTTER BOX, 2016
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HI YU APPLES CRATE LABEL, 1940s.
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NATIVE AMERICAN BARBIE DOLL, 1994.
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NATIVE AMERICAN BARBIE DOLL, 1994.
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LIBERTY TRIUMPHANT, OR THE DOWNFALL OF OPPRESSION, 1774
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TO PEACE AND COMMERCE DIPLOMATIC MEDAL, 1792.
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AMERICAN INDIAN POSTAGE STAMP, 1923
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TOMAHAWK FLIGHT-TEST MISSILE, 1976.
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WORLD WAR I LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE INDIAN HEAD INSIGNIA, 1917. SMITHSONIAN NATIONA
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Robert Soubiran stands beside a Nieuport Type 17 pursuit plane, ca. 1917
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PONTIAC CHIEFTAIN HOOD ORNAMENT, 1951.
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SEQUOYAH, 2013. WASHINGTON GLASS STUDIO AND FIREART GLASS
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THANKSGIVING POSTCARD, CA. 1912. NMAI EP1152
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COLLIER’S MAGAZINE COVER, 1907 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS J.C.
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BIG CHIEF WRITING TABLET, CA. 1995. GIFT OF LAWRENCE BACA, 2015.
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Within the Americans exhibition, Indians Everywhere provides a starting point for exploring four foundational events in U.S. history: the life of Pocahontas, Thanksgiving, the Trail of Tears and the Battle of Little Bighorn. Americans shows how each of these events has affected and shaped America’s national consciousness and Americans’ lives.

The exhibition’s title is a play on words. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the first definition provided for “American” is “An indigenous inhabitant of (any part of) the Americas; an American Indian.” This usage was common until the early 19th century. As visitors move through Americans, from the imagery of the Indians Everywhere gallery to the galleries featuring the four events, they will gain a greater awareness of the history Indians and non-Indians share.

We hope people will leave the Museum newly attuned to the pervasive presence of American Indian imagery in everyday life. And when people begin to notice the Indian images and names that permeate their own lives, we hope that they will see this phenomenon for what it is: one that exists in the United States more than it does in any other country, one that ultimately speaks to the fact that the United States was carved out of American Indian land, and that its history is profoundly intertwined with American Indians.

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