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Indigenous Appalachia

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An Exhibition by WVU Art in the Libraries in Partnership with WVU Native American Studies

November 14, 2022, WVU Downtown Library, 7pm: Launch event with  Joe Stahlman, Director, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum; Assistant Research Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University at Buffalo and Maryam Marne Zafar, Visual Strategist, Graphic Designer

January 27, 2023, 12pm: Virtual Artists Panel with Nadema Agard (painting, Cherokee), Connor Alexander (game design, Cherokee), Erin Lee Antonak (sculpture/drawing, Oneida), April Branham (painting/photography, Monacan), Ethan Brown (gourd design/painting, Pamunkey). Moderated by Sally Brown, WVU Libraries' Exhibits Coordinator, Lead Curator, Indigenous Appalachia. Register here.

Online exhibit coming soon!

September 2022- May 2023 (Print and Online): WVU Downtown Library

June- December 2023: WVU Beckley Campus Library

January - July 2024: Appalachian State University Library

August- December 2024: Marshall University Library

WVU Land Acknowledgement

WVU, with its statewide institutional presence, resides on land that includes ancestral territories of the Shawnee, Lenape (or Delaware), Cherokee, and Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois--the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Tuscarora), and other Indigenous peoples.

The goal of the Indigenous Appalachian exhibit is 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. Through visuals and educational content, the exhibit will 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. 

This exhibit will be intentionally curated with the expertise and contribution of Indigenous Appalachians alongside scholars of Native American Studies. 

The content of the exhibit includes exploration of the following themes: 

  • Discussion of the complexities involved in public discussions and portrayals of Indigenous cultures and histories, especially in consideration of European colonial history, U.S. policies, and social forces; these include centuries of genocidal acts 

  • Acknowledgement of WVU Libraries' Indigenous related holdings

  • Indigenous People in Appalachia Today and their ancestry 

  • Indigenous Place Names in West Virginia

  • Contemporary Indigenous Appalachian perspectives through creative work. Confirmed artists: Nadema Agard (painting, Cherokee), Connor Alexander (game design, Cherokee), Erin Lee Antonak (sculpture/drawing, Oneida), Kayln Barnoski (fabric/mixed media, Cherokee), April Branham (painting/photography, Monacan), Ethan Brown (gourd design/painting, Pamunkey), Annette Clapsaddle (writing, Cherokee), Robert D’Alimonte (woodworking/carving, Tuscarora), Brent Michael Davids (composing/music, Mohican/Munsee-Lenape), John Gritts (drawing/painting, Cherokee), Benjamin Harjo, Jr. (drawing/painting, Absentee Shawnee), Yonavea Hawkins (bead/fashion, Delaware), Antoinette (Toni) Scott (cornhusk dolls, Seneca), Rosy Simas (transdisciplinary art/dance, Seneca), Amelia Winger-Bearskin (NFT/digital, Seneca-Cayuga).

With the  WVU Native American Studies program and  WVU Humanities Center, we will develop course related, public programs and resources. For more resources check out the Indigenous Appalachia Library Guide here.

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

Questions? Questions: Lead Curator: Sally Brown Deskins, WVU Libraries' Exhibits Coordinator, 304.293.0369,   email.

Scholarly Consultants:

  • Joe Stahlman, Director, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum; Assistant Research Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University at Buffalo
  • Bonnie Brown, Coordinator and Teaching Instructor, WVU Native American Studies Program
  • Beth Toren, Interdisciplinary, Cultural and Film Studies Librarian, WVU Libraries
  • Michael Sherwin, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Photography, WVU College of Creative Arts
  • Richard Anderson, Senior Executive Assistant to the President, WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Maryam Marne Zafar, Visual Strategist, Graphic Designer
*Consulting committee is fluid and growing to include Indigenous perspectives.

Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors: 
Logo for West Virginia Humanities Council
*This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
 WVU Humanities CenterWVU Provost OfficeAntero Foundation


Gold Sponsors: 

Tree with text, The Oakland Foundation Morgantown Printing and Binding

Silver Sponsors:

Marshall University Libraries  Appalachian State University Libraries


West Virginia Library Commission



Sponsorship Opportunities:

Sponsorship Opportunities: Sponsors will play an important role in the support of Indigenous artists  and scholars, exhibition installation, events, publicity, and programming. Sponsors are recognized in  highly visible ways including exhibition wall text, promotional materials, press releases, signs at special  events and on the WVU Libraries exhibitions web page. Platinum and Gold level sponsors are offered the opportunity to hold events in conjunction with the exhibit throughout the year at the WVU Libraries. All sponsors are invited to develop virtual programs with the assistance of the WVU Libraries. Artist’s Palette level supports an honorarium for an Indigenous artist. Below are suggested levels of contribution.

Sponsorship level Chart. Chart lists the following sponsorship levels: Platinum, $5000+; Gold, $2500-$4,999; Silver, $1000-$1999; Bronze, $301-$999; Artist Palette, $300

Contact: For more information or to become a sponsor contact Paula Martinelli:
paula.martinelli@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-0303.