MSU Museum Celebrates the Work of the Odawa Indian Bands of Little Traverse Bay

A new exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum features artwork created by members of the Waganakising Odawa, known today as the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

The exhibition entitled “Kindred” showcases Odawa arts and crafts. This includes ceramics, basketwork and beadwork.

Liz Erlewine, one of the exhibit’s co-curators, says each piece helps tell the story of one of Michigan’s first people.

“So the exhibition is also a story of that perseverance and the preservation of those practices for people who have honestly faced, you know, a lot of challenges to keep those practices and traditions alive,” said- she declared.

Erlewine says the exhibit includes contemporary pieces.

“I think sometimes when we hear the word traditional, we think of really old things,” Erlewine added. “It’s not necessarily that old, but it’s old ways, right? And they’re looking at traditional practices as they’ve been carried on over the years.”

The exhibit includes works by famous weaver and porcupine quill Yvonne Walker Keshick. His work features nature, animals and cultural symbols of the Odawa tribe. Keshick is a descendant of a long line of quills from Odawa.

“His skill and craftsmanship in rendering these beautiful, intricate designs with natural materials is truly second to none,” Erlewine explained.

Erlewine says Native American history tends to be overlooked.

“I hope visitors take away with that is knowing that there is so much phenomenal artwork and creativity and such a vibrant native community here in Michigan,” she said. .

The exhibition is presented in the main gallery of the museum until the end of July.

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