Native Voices makes FLC home

2019-2020 Hozhoni Ambassador First Attendant, Tiarney Andreas visits a booth highlighting the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) epidemic after attending the exhibit opening of the “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” on Thursday, Oct. 10.
McKayla Lee | The Southern Ute Drum

The “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” traveling exhibit has found a new home for six weeks at the John. F. Reed Library at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. The library held an opening for the exhibit on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The exhibit is an interactive presentation that explores the concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indians and even features individual interviews with over 100 tribal leaders, healers, physicians and educators. There is no cost to view the exhibit, it will be on display at the library until January of 2020.

Students, faculty and community members of Fort Lewis College were all invited to the public opening of the “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” where they could listen and watch the interviews of Tribal leaders, healers and others in the Reed Library in Durango, Colo. on Thursday, Oct. 10.

In addition to examining wellness and illness, the exhibit shows the interconnection that these share with cultural life. Stories have been drawn from both the past and present to determine the health of Native peoples and how they are tied to community, land and spirit. By conducting personal interviews with leaders, healers and community members, people are able to reflect on the ways that political and cultural events are affected in the 19th and 20th centuries.

These individual interviews show how Native peoples have adapted to using both traditional and western methods to enhance wellness. These enhancements not only benefit the community, but they help show an inspiring account of resilience, recovery and self-determination.

By dividing the exhibit into five distinct themes: individual, community, nature, tradition and healing it is then able to touch upon more aspects healing. Each theme is focused on helping the viewer gain a better understanding of how native peoples view the relationship of historical roles in traditional healing and the contemporary intergeneration views of health. The themes also provide a sense of how native communities are improving their health conditions through economic development and through the collaboration of native elders, women and youth to gain knowledge of traditional practices of healing.

In 2011 the exhibit was originally housed at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) until it began traveling in 2015 through a partnership with the American Library Association. Since then, the exhibit has traveled to over 100 different sites. In order to be selected as a host, the NLM must receive a completed application from each interested public, academic and tribal college library sites.

Currently the Reed Library has six free standing banners and six iPads that are set up to help visitors view the full video content provided by “Native Voices” Viewers can watch the interviews, experience the journey of the exhibit and learn about the unique roles that native communities play in the making of videos.

To learn more about the videos and exhibition, visit the native voices website at President of Fort Lewis College, Tom Stritikus encourages tribal members to view the exhibit during its display period at Reed Library.

Tom Stritikus, the President of Fort Lewis College provides opening remarks at the exhibit opening of “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” at the Reed Library on the college campus in Durango, Colo. on Thursday, Oct. 10.


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