ERIC Number: ED334124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Exploring Native American Symbolism.
This paper described the events and results of a workshop on Native American symbolism presented to educators and held in Kansas City, Missouri. The presenter maintained that some of the most crucial problems facing U.S. educators and students are caused by racial misunderstandings, and that the universality of artistic expression can be a vehicle for cross-cultural and multi-cultural dialogue. It was stressed that the exploration of Native-American imagery should be part of any art curriculum. However, it was argued, when Native-American art is studied, the past is usually emphasized. Romantic misconceptions of Indians as non-technical, stone-age artisans dominate the literature, thereby reinforcing the tendency to dismiss the evolving, contemporary Native-American culture. The workshop offered participants the opportunity to express their feelings via Native-American symbolism. Participants first viewed an intertribal powwow videotape; the powwow was presented as an aesthetic experience as a time for learning and carrying on a rich cultural heritage. The symbolic significance of the appearance of the participant flag bearers, singers, drummers, and dancers as they entered the powwow arena, was explained. The videotape was followed by a slide show that featured works emphasizing the present and future direction of Native-American art. These included Northwest Coast masks carved in the 1980s, contemporary crafts, and paintings by Fritz Scholder. Participants then created their own symbolic images, during which time, sage, an Indian herb/incense, permeated the air. Some of the works created are described in the report. This method of introducing Native-American culture, it was concluded, is respectful of tradition. (KM)
Descriptors: American Indian Culture, American Indian History, Art Activities, Art Appreciation, Art Education, Art Expression, Art History, Cultural Awareness, Educational Philosophy, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnic Groups, Higher Education, Multicultural Education, Symbolism, Workshops
Editor of JMCRAE, University of Oregon, Art Education Dept., 251 E. Lawrence Hall, Eugene, OR 97403.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Collected Works - Proceedings
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A