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Downtown Library hosting “Indigenous Appalachia” exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 26th, 2022
Abstract painting
Abstract painting by John Gritts. It is currently on display in the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

West Virginia University’s Downtown Library is hosting “Indigenous Appalachia,” an exhibit designed to increase awareness of the contributions of Indigenous Appalachians to the region’s shared history and present while also recognizing continuing injustices faced by Indigenous people.

“Most Americans do not know about Indigenous culture, from history to today, but they are a large part of America’s fabric. Invisibility is a modern form of bias,” WVU Libraries Exhibits Coordinator Sally Brown said. “With this exhibit, we hope to both acknowledge the contradictions in the Indigenous histories of our areas and in our collections, and highlight Indigenous stories, perspectives and successes, all curated in collaboration with Indigenous advisement.”

“Indigenous Appalachia” will remain on exhibit through May 2023.

The WVU Humanities Center will hold a launch event on Nov. 14 with presentations by Joe Stahlman, director, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, assistant research professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University at Buffalo, and exhibit adviser; and Maryam Marne Zafar, visual strategist and graphic designer and exhibit lead designer.

Register for the virtual event here.

The exhibit uses visuals and educational content to explore themes of people, lands and waters, and will provide significant opportunity for campus and community involvement via coursework and programming, and encourage informed, enhanced perspectives.

As our nation and the University proceed in acknowledging the erasure of much of Indigenous history, it is understood that a reconciliation of this erasure can only be accomplished with Indigenous scholars’ leadership, guidance, and participation informing these new perspectives.

WVU Libraries has worked with the WVU Native American Studies program to develop course related, public programs and resources.

The exhibit will also become a digital exhibit living on the WVU Libraries’ website and archived on the Research Repository at WVU.

Following the spring 2023 semester, “Indigenous Appalachia” will travel to WVU Beckley Campus Library from June-December 2023; Appalachian State University Library from January-July 2024; and Marshall University Library from August-December 2024.

Sponsors include: West Virginia Humanities Council, WVU Humanities Center, WVU Office of Provost and The Antero Foundation (Platinum Level); Oakland Foundation and Morgantown Printing & Binding (Gold Level); and Marshall University Libraries, Appalachian State University Libraries and WV Library Commission (Silver Level).

For more information or questions, contact Brown at 304.293.0369 or

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