On Friday, April 19, the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, hosted a celebration to mark the opening of Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other), an exhibit featuring more than fifty Anishinaabek baskets, canoe models, rattles, photographs, and other items from the Great Lakes Region. Some of the pieces are more than 100 years old; others are contemporary works.
Co-curators William Johnson, of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways, and Carla Sinopoli, of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, were on hand to cut the ribbon and open the doors to the exhibition.
The exhibition’s title, Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other), has two meanings: the first refers to the Anishinaabek basketmakers, who worked with each other and with native materials, including black ash, sweetgrass, elm and birch bark, and porcupine quills. The second meaning refers to the collaboration of the people of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, who worked together to bring about this exhibition. The collaboration between the groups began many years ago, with efforts to implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Since then, hundreds of Anishinaabek ancestors and their burial belongings have been returned to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and many other Great Lakes Tribes.
Complementing this exhibition is an online catalog produced by the students of University of Michigan’s Museum Anthropology course (Antharch 497), titled Bkejwanong/Walpole Island, Ontario Collections at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. The course is taught by Lisa C. Young, a lecturer at the University of Michigan Department of Anthropology, who also helped organize the Ziibiwing exhibit.
Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other) is on display until October 5.