Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #27

Contents

NATIVE AMERICAN MUSEUM TELLS A RICH HISTORY

SA ARTISTS FEATURED AT CRAFTS AT THE CASTLE

BLACK NATIVITY PAYS TRIBUTE TO JOHN ROSS

MIDDLE MARSALIS DOES MORE THAN MEDDLE

GROWING UP WITH RICHARD PRYOR – A BOOK REVIEW

DEJA VU CAPTIVATES AND ENTERTAINS

GAMBLING, POLITICS AND THE MONARCHY

RONALD K. BROWN’S EVIDENCE

MATTAPAN ACTOR MEETS DUCHESS OF YORK

ONE LOVE DVD’s

UPCOMING EVENTS


NATIVE AMERICAN MUSEUM TELLS A RICH HISTORY

by Kay Bourne

(pictured above: The Pequots from 1550 traveling in the birch bark canoe are modeled on Pequots of today)

a0ebba576998fbcc120da8b3b9ea23da.124.83 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #27The young Pequot woman stands on a rock high above the corn field flinging rocks with an uncanny accuracy at the birds invading the garden. The crows scatter. None has been killed or maimed. In her people’s cosmology, the crow’s life is of value even when the bird is a pest threatening the Pequot’s crop of maize. Corn, beans, and squash were domesticated by the Native Americans in the Northeast probably a thousand years ago.

This scene is among the breathtaking dioramas with people and animals that comprise the 36 views of daily life in a Pequot Village as it existed in 1550 (about a century before the Dutch and the English arrived on the territory now known as New York and New England). A permanent display at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center on the Mashantucket Reservation in Connecticut, the serene exhibit is part of the extensive operation run by the Mashantucket Pequots dedicated to preserving Native American culture.

Even small children can comprehend the genius of the Native Americans’ cultivation of maize, a crop that would later become a staple of the colonists’ diet. There is a wonderful audio guide you can take around with you when viewing the village. Later, you can revisit such a scene in a highly praised children’s book, “Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians” written and illustrated by Aliki (HarperTrophy, 1986). Did you know that one tiny kernel of corn can produce up to 1,000 plants? This simply put scientific text explains how corn came to be. For more of a tome try Staller, Tykot, and Bentz’s “Histories of Maize: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Prehistory, Linquistics, Biogeography, Domestication, And Evolution of Maize” at $149.00 or, perhaps, available at the library.

Other state-of-the art exhibits also have appeal to adults and children of varying ages. The Ice Age mammals Natural History tour is designed with grades K-4 in mind as the children explore Life in a Cold Climate of some 10,000 or so years ago. Youngsters learn why the mastodon, giant beaver, and dire wolf became extinct. Older children can learn about the survival of the Pequots through tragedies such as the massacre at Mystic and the Pequot War, or delve into an archaeological Pequot site (in the summer months). There are craft workshops where you can make a wampum bracelet or a corn husk toy.

The building, with its libraries (children’s library, tribal archives, and research library) and exhibition floors and outdoor picnic area is located on the very same grounds where the Foxwoods Resort & Casino and golf course sits. There is free shuttle service between the two places, or you can drive directly to the museum where there is parking. My neighbor who has never once gone into the casino belongs to the museum where she takes her grandchildren at least a couple of times a year.

Foxwoods Resort & Casino on “the res,” as staff affectionately refer to it, is an easy hour and three quarter drive from Boston on mostly highways. There are buses as well. Further info and schedules for activities and special displays such as pottery can be obtained by calling 860-396-67839 or going on-line. A Winter Moon Native Market free and open to the public is on-going until November 26, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where more than a dozen Native artists will be present. The admission cost to the museum is adults $15 (seniors $13), children 6-15 $10, free for children under.

The Pequot Museum website


SA ARTISTS FEATURED AT CRAFTS AT THE CASTLE

by Kay Bourne

(pictured: Marjorie Maleka holds shoulder bag made from discarded plastic bags by women of Berkana Institute, Soweto, South Africa)

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