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There’s no shortage of art and entertainment in Indian Country this week: A stand-up comedy set from Indian Country’s baddest and bawdiest Auntie, a major Oklahoma museum opening studded with Indian Country celebrities, a fashion-focused discussion with three sizzling-hot Indigenous style influencers and the opening of a historical photography exhibit celebrating Alaska Natives.  

For now, allow Native News Online’s event round-up to lead the way into an historic and well-balanced week of culture and community.

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The First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. The museum's grand opening, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 19., will feature a slew of special guests and performers, including Muscogee U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Pawnee rappers Lil Mike and Funnybone. (First Americans Museum) The First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. The museum's grand opening, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 19., will feature a slew of special guests and performers, including Muscogee U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Pawnee rappers Lil Mike and Funnybone. (Photo/First Americans Museum) The First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. The museum's grand opening, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 19., will feature a slew of special guests and performers, including Muscogee U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Pawnee rappers Lil Mike and Funnybone. (First Americans Museum) The First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. The museum's grand opening, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 19., will feature a slew of special guests and performers, including Muscogee U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Pawnee rappers Lil Mike and Funnybone. (Photo/First Americans Museum) First Americans Museum Grand Opening

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 18, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept.19, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: First Americans Museum, 659 First Americans Blvd., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Event is sold out .

Three-decades in the making, the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City  is opening this weekend with a big bang of celebrities, performances and programs.

The 175,000-square foot building telling the stories of Oklahoma’s 39 tribes is filled with newly commissioned work from Oklahoma tribal artists and state-of-the-art exhibits on everything from forced tribal removals and cultural misrepresentation, to regional sports and games. 

“I have never worked on anything that felt like such an immense responsibility on behalf of the community...We’ve also envisioned that what we’re doing is hopefully building a museum for the next generation” Chief Curator Heather Ahtone (Chickasaw) told The Frontier Post . ”It celebrates the uniqueness of who we are both as cultural people within our various tribes, but also as Americans. And to make sure that we position this whole story as an extension of the American story.”

The opening event, which is sold out, will star a roster of notable Oklahoma Native heroes, performers, tribal leaders, politicians and role models including Muscogee United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, rappers and “Reservation Dogs” stars Lil Mike and Funnybone, and contemporary and traditional music duo The Prairie Blossoms. 

The museum, which will also offer live public and educational programs, a full-service restaurant and express café, and a museum store selling one-of-a-kind hand-made items by leading First American artists, will be open to the public with regular hours starting on Wednesday, Sept. 22.  For more information, visit famok.org.

Laughter is Good Medicine Featuring Auntie Beachress

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 20,  6 p.m. 

WHERE: Ogren Park at Allegiance Field, Missoula, MT; Facebook event page

The notorious Auntie Beachress is taking a break from her typical Auntie exploits like hiding from the cops and hitchhiking, to lend her big mouth to a good cause.   

Beachress, the bawdy, chain smoking alter-ego of Lakota, Dakota and Hidatsa comedian Tonia Jo Hall is headlining the event Laughter is Good Medicine. 

The free evening of camaraderie, comedy and music being held in honor of Native American Heritage Day, will also feature a special performance from Salish and Blackfeet hip hop artist Foreshadow, who went viral last year with the song “Protect Your People.” 
Vogue fashion and style writer Christian Allaire (Ojibwe), author of "The Power of Style," will join designers Jamie Okuma  (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock) and Korina Emmerich (Puyallup) for a virtual art talk titled Indigenous Design: Towards a More Equitable Fashion Industry, on Wednesday, Sept. 22.  The online event is presented by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ.  (Photo/Annick Press)  Vogue writer Christian Allaire (Ojibwe), author of "The Power of Style," will join designers Jamie Okuma (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock) and Korina Emmerich (Puyallup) for a virtual art talk titled "Indigenous Design: Towards a More Equitable Fashion Industry," on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The online event is presented by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. (Photo/Annick Press) Virtual Art Talk | Indigenous Design: Towards a More Equitable Fashion Industry

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 12 p.m.

WHERE:   Register here

When it comes to spreading appreciation and awareness of Indigenous designers and fashion to the wider world, Christian Allaire, Jamie Okuma and Korina Emmerich  know what they’re talking about.  

Allaire (Ojibwe), a fashion and style writer for Vogue and more major publications, has been bringing designers like Lauren Good Day to the attention of international audiences, and recently published the book “The Power of Style:  How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures

Okuma (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock) and Emmerich (Puyallup)  are world-famous  designers who seamlessly mix traditional Native art and design into their contemporary collections. The work of both designers adorned U.S. Secretary of The Interior Deb Haaland in this year’s August issue of InStyle.

Next Wednesday, these three highly influential faces of fashion will assemble for a virtual art talk addressing equity in the fashion industry, presented by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and moderated by Heard Museum Fine Arts Curator Erin Joyce.

During the free virtual event, the trio will discuss style and design, the continuing problem of cultural appropriation by the global fashion industry, and ways to move toward a fairer and less colonial world of fashion. 

Four Indigenous women of Nunavik Island in the Bering Sea. From the new exhibition, "Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska, the Lost Photographs," opening Sept. 16 at The Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan. (Photo by Edward Sherriff Curtis, 1927, Courtesy of the Curtis Legacy Foundation)Four Indigenous women of Nunavik Island in the Bering Sea. From the new exhibition, "Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska, the Lost Photographs," opening Sept. 16 at The Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan. (Photo by Edward Sherriff Curtis, 1927, Courtesy of the Curtis Legacy Foundation)Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska, The Lost Photographs exhibit

WHEN:  Opened September 16; runs through Jan. 9, 2022. 

WHERE: Muskegon (Mich.) Museum of Art

Photographer Edward Curtis traveled to north in 1927 to photograph Native Alaskans for The Alaskan Eskimo, the 20th and final volume of Curtis’ epic life’s work: The North American Indian

But even an epic needs editing, and dozens of photos didn’t make the cut. Now, more than 100 rare images excluded from the volumes are now being brought to light via the exhibit "Unpublished Alaska: The Lost Photographs," which opened on Thursday, Sept. 16 at the Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan.

The photos, as well as unseen entries from Curtis’ journals, are also featured in an Unpublished Alaska book assembled by Curtis’ great grandson, John Graybill, and Graybill’s wife, Coleen. The exhibit runs through Jan. 9, 2022. 

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About The Author
Tamara Ikenberg
Author: Tamara Ikenberg
Tamara Ikenberg is a contributing writer to Native News Online. She covers tribes throughout the southwest as well as Native arts, culture and entertainment. She can be reached at [email protected]