Northern Michigan University’s Olson Library has been selected to host a new traveling exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the free exhibition explores the connection between wellness, illness and cultural life through a combination of interviews, artwork, objects and interactive media. It will be on display at NMU Feb. 3-March 17.
“We are thrilled to have been selected through a competitive application process to serve as the first host site in the region during the exhibition’s four-year tour of the United States,” said Bruce Sarjeant of Olson Library. “The next opportunity to view it in the Upper Peninsula won’t come around until 2019. Olson Library will offer supplemental programming to enrich the content of the exhibition while also paying tribute to our local Native culture and history.”
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Md., is the world’s largest library of the health sciences and collections. It works with Native communities as part of its commitment to make health information resources accessible to people no matter where they live or work.
The Native Voices exhibition grew out of NLM meetings with American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian people. Topics include: Native views of land, food, community, earth/nature, and spirituality as they relate to Native health; the relationship between traditional healing and Western medicine in Native communities; economic and cultural issues that affect the health of Native communities; efforts by Native communities to improve health conditions; and the role of Native Americans in military service, along with healing support for returning Native veterans.
“This exhibition is a perfect fit for Northern because we are so closely intertwined with the region’s Native heritage and culture,” said April Lindala, director of the NMU Center for Native American Studies. “We offer the only Native American studies academic major in Michigan, with an emphasis on Great Lakes indigenous perspectives. We also provide active learning and service learning opportunities that strengthen student engagement with indigenous communities.”
NMU’s Olson Library is one of 104 sites nationwide selected to host the exhibition in partnership with the American Library Association. It is located in the NMU Learning Resources Center. For details on the exhibit from the NLM, visit https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/. For NMU-related programming, visit http://library.nmu.edu/nativevoices/.
Native Voices will be available for viewing during Olson Library’s regular hours of operation, which can be viewed at www.nmu.edu/library. In addition to the library, NMU sponsors of the exhibition include the Center for Native American Studies, the School of Nursing and the department of Sociology and Anthropology.