Release Date: February 8, 2016
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The culture and healing traditions of Native Americans are on display at the University at Buffalo in “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness,” a traveling national exhibition that includes UB as one of its first stops.
The Native Voices exhibition, co-sponsored by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the American Library Association, is a collection of images and video interviews that allow people of American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian descent to share, in their own words, their views on health, medicine and illness.
The UB Libraries is among four locations chosen to premier the materials. From 2016 to 2020, the exhibition will travel to more than 100 libraries across the nation.
The exhibition, which opened Feb. 3 and is on display through March 16, is located in the Health Sciences Library in the lobby of Abbott Hall on the UB South Campus.
The UB Libraries will hold an opening ceremony on Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. in Abbott Hall. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will include remarks by Margaret Moss, PhD, JD, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the UB School of Nursing, and a traditional ceremony led by Tyendinaga Mohawk scholar Jodi Maracle, a doctoral student in the Department of Transnational Studies in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.
The interactive exhibition features six viewing stations – Apple iPads loaded with nearly 100 interviews and videos related to Native medicine and health. Along with the stations are display banners that share information surrounding five themes: individual, community, tradition, nature and healing.
“I am pleased that our Health Sciences Library is serving as a host site for this important exhibition,” says H. Austin Booth, vice provost for UB Libraries. “The exhibition raises awareness of important issues related to the health needs of contemporary Native peoples, and offers an excellent opportunity to learn more about the ways in which traditional healing methods can enhance wellness.”
The UB Libraries will also host a panel discussion on practices and issues related to Native American health on March 3 from 6-9 p.m. in room B15 of Abbott Hall.
The free event, a Friends of the Health Sciences Library program held in collaboration with the Department of American Studies and School of Nursing, will include Moss as moderator and a selection of traditional Native dishes for guests. Panelists will soon be announced.
“The Native Voices exhibit has, at its core, Native views and definitions of health and illness,” says Moss, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation and author of “American Indian Health and Nursing.”
“This is key in understanding the health of the Native population instead of using the dominant culture as the ‘gold standard’ and trying to fit in the apparent outliers. The inclusion of storytelling, intergenerationality, and Native traditions and activities that promote healing are obligatory to the narrative but often overlooked.”
The exhibition aims to help Native Americans preserve their concepts of health and medicine within their communities, particularly among Native youth, and to assist non-Natives in understanding Native ideas and experiences.
For more information or to view videos within the exhibition, visit https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/.