Representations of Native Americans at Colonial Williamsburg 4.14.08 to 4.20.08

Monday, April 14, 2008 – Background reading
Karp, Ivan and Lavine, Steven D. (eds) (1991) Exhibiting Cultures: The
Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, Smithsonian Institution Press,
Washington

Waugaman, Sandra and Moretti-Langholtz, Danielle. 2006. We’re Still Here: Contemporary Virginia Indians Tell Their Stories, Richmond, Virginia, Palari Publishing
Tuesday, April 15, 2008: Attended classes. Sent Email to Dr. Marley Brown in another attempt to find a contact at the DeWitt Wallace Museum. He encouraged me to contact Kelly Ladd who would be able to tell me what is in the collection. Finished typing an index for Solomon Alpert.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008: I went back through the digital images that I received from Mrs. Martin at CWF and found photos from the Powwow at Carter’s Grove. I still do not have concrete information on it but I can date it to March 1994, which makes it the earliest event with Native American content that I have been able to find so far. I find it interesting that this powwow was held in celebration of Women’s History Month. The first Native American event was held at Carter’s Grove, not in the historic area, and also in context with the negotiation of a gender dynamic. Dr. Brown told me he believed that Travis Henline compiled a list of artifacts in the collection. I have emailed Professor Henline to see if I can get further information. Dr. Brown also stated, “I do know that for many years the main place where Native Virginians were represented was the Winthrop Rockefeller Archaeology Museum at Carter’s Grove, and there it was in the context of what curator Ivor Noël Hume called “the massacre.” His representation of local Native Virginians as treacherous savages deserving to be eliminated was, for me, a real low point in our effort.”
In addition, Dr. Brown (as well as Mr. Woodard, Ms. Rock, Ms. Heuvel and Ms. Burroughs) discussed how important a dialog with and direct participation of contemporary Native American descendant communities are. I have been encouraged to find this a recurring theme within the scholarlary discourse not only in my secondary source reading but within Colonial Williamsburg as well. Although one does not walk down Duke of Glouster Street and see a Native American narrative, it does exist. It is calculated and methodical. This monumental effort is not being accomplished by merely writing a historical dialog and submitting it for the public to view. The dialog is an ongoing, evolutionary process that not only has Native American content but more importantly has Native American input as well. It is a collaborative effort between scholars and a growing community of Native American anthropologists, archaeologists and activists. It is an example of a living history museum that continues to grow and learn because it has the courage (and the funding) to take risks and change rather than remain static.

Thursday, April 17, 2008: Attended classes. Continued to work on typing my field notes and designing my web pages. I received the web space information from Dr. Knight so it is now a matter of coalescing my information, getting it organized and up on the site.

Friday, April 18, 2008: Received an email from Buck Woodard. Will try to meet with him next week to go over any gaps I have in scholarship, get his thoughts on my current research and discuss current programming and future goals of the AII. I have emailed Willie Balderson at CWF to try and meet with him next week. Mrs. Burroughs told me he would be a person who could fill in some information on events that she did not have information on. I have also learned that he was an actor in some of the EFT’s. I would like to discuss his experience in that capacity as well.

Goals for next week:
• Revisit Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement
• Visit with Willie Balderson and Buck Woodard
• Email Toni Deetz Rock, Lisa Heuvel and Ashley Atkins to see if they have any final thoughts or considerations before I begin to put information on the website.
• Continue to try and contact Kelly Ladd at the DeWitt Wallace museum.
• Email Marianne Martin to see if I can review the digital images of artifacts in the digital library.
• Finish secondary source reading.

1 Response to “Representations of Native Americans at Colonial Williamsburg 4.14.08 to 4.20.08”


  1. 1 Arthur Knight April 22, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Excellent work, LaDonna–you’re gathering terrific material here.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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