Today is Trail of Tears Commemoration Day. There were several different routes on the Trail of Tears. Little Rock was one of the only places (if not the only one), in which each of the tribes passed through on the way out west.
Much research on the Trail of Tears has been conducted by the UALR Sequoyah National Research Center (SNRC).
The SNRC recently opened an exhibit entitled “Toy Tipis and Totem Poles: Native American Stereotypes in the Lives of Children.”
The exhibit runs through Dec. 19. Held in the Dr. J.W. Wiggins Native American Art Gallery, the purpose of the event is to create awareness of the variety of native cultures and the achievements of contemporary American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The exhibit comes from the Hirschfelder-Molin Native American Stereotypes Collection, a collection of more than 1,500 museum objects and archival documents, possibly the largest such collection in the world.
The items were donated to SNRC in 2012 by Arlene Hirschfelder and Paulette Molin, professional educators and authors with decades-long experience in Native American education and Native American studies. SNRC archivist Erin Fehr will curate the exhibit with Hirschfelder, Molin, and SNRC staff.
The exhibit will highlight the areas of the collection dealing with children and Native American stereotypes omnipresent in the lives of American children.
By examining childhood objects – dolls, toys, books, games, clothing, sports memorabilia – the exhibit will create awareness of the inculcation of the images and the difficulty of changing mainstream thinking about Native American stereotypes.
In addition to presenting the stereotypes themselves, positive images and responses from Native people will be presented as an alternative.
UALR’s Sequoyah National Research Center is dedicated to the collection and preservation of all forms of Native American expression. Located in the University Plaza, SNRC has served as an archive for Native Americans for more than 30 years. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information contact Erin Fehr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501.569.8336.