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Using the old adage goes “a photo is worth a thousand words,” the Minnesota History Center’s Native American Initiatives (NAI) department, along with Indigenous community members, reexamine and reframe photographs taken by Twin Cities journalists from the 1950s-90s in a brand new exhibit that will open on October 21, 2023.

The Reframing Our Stories exhibit, opening to the public on October 21 as a powerful addition to Our Home: Native Minnesota, transforms the narratives of photos from a box simply labeled “Indians.” Striking photos line the gallery walls, with new text showcasing strength and resilience of Native communities – both past and present – in their own words.

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“Community involvement is the most important aspect of this exhibit,” said Amber Annis (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), director of Native American Initiatives at the Minnesota Historical Society. “Throughout the development, our team sought out the input and opinions of several Native community members from across Minnesota. Our goal is to create a space where Native Community members feel represented, as well as an opportunity for visitors to connect with our communities and develop cultural empathy.”

Many of the featured photographs have not been seen since their initial publication and focus on Native community members, organizations, activities, and events, with particular attention to topics still extremely relevant in the lives of community members today. The exhibit aims to connect the past to the present by highlighting the memories of Native community elders, friends, descendants, and their organizing successors.

Twin Cities' Native American teens from the 1970s. (Photo/Minnesota Historical Center)

 

The Native American Initiatives department will be hosting a celebration event at the Minnesota History Center featuring community speakers, music, and a reception. The event will run from 11:00am–2:00pm on October 21. The opening celebration and the exhibit are free to MNHS members and Native Community members.

The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, Minnesota. Funding provided by the State of Minnesota's Legacy Amendment, through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

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