Published October 25, 2015
ALLENDALE, MICHIGAN — Grand Valley State University’s Kutsche Office of Local History will host an exhibition, “Walking beyond Our Ancestors’ Footsteps: An Urban Native Experience,” beginning November 3 at the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons on the Allendale Campus.
“Walking beyond Our Ancestors’ Footsteps: An Urban Native Experience” will be part of several of the university’s planned events to celebrate Native American Heritage Month and will conclude on November 18th with a campus dialogue.
The new exhibition is the beginning of a series that highlights Native Americans living in the Grand Rapids area during the last half-century. The show contains historic documents and objects made by local Native Americans during the past several decades. It is a small portion of the work completed in conjunction with the “Gi-gikinomaage-min (We are all teachers): Defend Our History, Unlock Your Spirit” project that kicked off last fall by the Kutsche Office of Local History.
Melanie Shell-Weiss, director of the Kutsche Office, said the oral history project gives voice to the experience of urban Native Americans.
Many collaborators worked with the Kutsche Office to bring this exhibition to fruition including the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Public Library, GVSU’s Native American Advisory Board, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Special Collections & Archives. Among these planners was Native News Online’s very own Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi.
“The exhibit is truly a collaborative effort of the whole community that Grand Rapids can take considerable pride,” Rickert said. “It shows the strength and resiliency of our local Native community that can trace our ancestry back hundreds of years to where Grand Valley’s Allendale campus is today.”
After the conclusion at Grand Valley, “Walking beyond Our Ancestors’ Footsteps” will travel to the Grand Rapids Public Library for display in January 2016.