History

 

Searching for Oldman

A lead from the other side of the world is helping to fill in gaps of knowledge about our collections. One of the dealers who helped George Gustav Heye assemble his massive ethnological holdings in the early 1900s was the British collector William Ockleford Oldman. Following Oldman’s trail, NMAI’s Collection Documentations Manager Maria Galban located a treasure trove of his business records and invaluable provenance information in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.

Virginia's Pivotal Year: Four Centuries of American Evolution

In 1619, as peace with the Powhatan Indians was breaking down, the settlement of Jamestown received its first captives from Africa, convened a representative assembly and awaited the arrival of the first large-scale importation of potential wives from England. The Commonwealth is marking the subsequent four centuries of “American Evolution,” with a memorial being built to commemorate influential women of the day – including the Pamunkey chief Cockacoeske – and an Indigenous film festival.

Medic at D-Day: The Humble Heroism of Charles Norman Shay

For more than 60 years, Charles Shay (Penobscot) couldn’t talk about his horrific experiences on Omaha Beach during the largest seaborne invasion in history. Now he performs a smudging ceremony at the annual D-Day observances in Normandy, France, in honor of the 175 American Indians who landed that day. The French have dedicated a park overlooking the beach, in his, and their, honor.

Naal Tsoos Saní (The Old Paper): The Navajo Treaty of 1868, Nation Building and Self-Determination

Naal Tsoos Saní, the “Old Paper” in the language of the Diné, is the Treaty of 1868 that ended the Navajo peoples’ forced relocation to the Bosque Redondo. Although it is the legal foundation of the modern Navajo Nation, its limits on traditional Diné sovereignty are still intensely debated. The 20-page document, recently displayed in the exhibit Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations at the Museum on the National Mall, is moving to the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz., for the 150th anniversary of its signing.