The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Sequoyah National Research Center (SNRC) will open the exhibit, “Toy Tipis and Totem Poles: Native American Stereotypes in the Lives of Children,” in the Dr. J.W. Wiggins Native American Art Gallery on Friday, September 5 at 5:30 p.m.
The exhibit will be drawn from the Hirschfelder-Molin Native American Stereotypes Collection, a collection of over 1500 museum objects and archival documents donated to SNRC in 2012 by Arlene Hirschfelder of Teaneck, NJ, and Paulette Molin of Hampton, VA, professional educators and authors with decades-long experience in Native American education and Native American studies. It is thought that this may be the largest such collection in the world. SNRC’s archivist Erin Fehr will be curating the exhibit with Hirschfelder and Molin and SNRC staff.
The exhibit will highlight the areas of the collection dealing with children and the stereotypes of Native Americans that are omnipresent in the lives of American children. By examining childhood objects – dolls, toys, books, games, clothing, sports memorabilia – it is hoped that awareness of the inculcation of the images and their associations will bring attention to the difficulty of changing mainstream American thinking about Native stereotypes. In addition to presenting the stereotypes themselves, positive images and responses from Native people will be presented as an alternative to the stereotypes. The purpose of this exhibit is to create awareness of the variety of Native cultures and educate the public on the achievements of contemporary American Indians and Alaska Natives.
UALR’s Sequoyah National Research Center is dedicated to the collection and preservation of all forms of Native American expression. Located on the extreme southern end of the UALR campus in the University Plaza, SNRC has served as an archive for Native American for over 30 years. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm and the exhibit will run throughDecember 19, 2014.