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Native American Cultural Survival & Resistance

The 2018-19 colloquium and related exhibition and library guide introduced audiences to histories of indigenous people on this continent and the concept of “Survivance.” Click here to watch the events.

The 2018-19 KHC-NEH colloquium, Engaging with Native American Cultural Survival, Resistance and Allyship, explored the cultural survival and resistance of Native American and First Nations people. The series included talks, film screenings and performances with indigenous scholars and indigenous knowledge carriers as well as their allies. Speakers also included rabbis and other community members working with indigenous communities who addressed related issues such as repatriation and restorative justice. The colloquium introduced the related KHC exhibition, Survivance & Sovereignty on Turtle Island, Engaging with Contemporary Native American Art. 

Survivance, a central theme of the project, is a term which has come to encompass narratives of survival and resistance in opposition to victimhood from genocide and other crimes of mass atrocity. In this way, survivance is relevant to the Jewish communities of survivors, to the Indigenous participants in the exhibition and programs, and to other survivor communities. Turtle Island is the name given to this continent by the Eastern Woodland groups such as the Iroquois Nation, the Anishinaabe and the Lenape, the latter being first inhabitants of the region where Queensborough Community College is located. Not unlike Noah’s ark rising from the waters, this indigenous creation story tells us that the continent where we live came into being as a great girl turtle raised her back out of the ocean. 

The colloquium was organized by the 2018-19 KHC-NEH Scholar-in-Residence, Kat Griefen, Program Coordinator and Faculty Member in the Gallery and Museum Studies Program in Queensborough Community College-CUNY’s Art and Design Department.