Visitors at the "This Path We Travel: Celebrations of Contemporary Native American Creativity" exhibit at the George Gustav Heye Center, National Museum of the American Indian, October 30, 1994. Photo by Roy Gumpel. Image no. SIA2011-1533 and 95-288.

| ˚-˚ | Listen In - Transporting You Back to 1994 | ˚-˚ |

This Path We Travel: Celebrations of Contemporary Native American Creativity, was one of the inaugural exhibitions at the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. Fifteen Native American painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, and dancers collaborated on the exhibition, which featured sculpture, performance, poetry, music, and video. Listen in to some of the audio recordings from the exhibition to get a sense of it today.

In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, I wanted to share some audio recordings from one of the inaugural exhibitions, This Path We Travel: Celebrations of Contemporary Native American Creativity, at the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York City from August 1, 1994–August 1, 1995. Fifteen Native American painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, and dancers collaborated on the exhibition, which featured sculpture, performance, poetry, music, and video.

Although I would be able to provide more context about the exhibit with physical access to our collections, I am still able to share audio recordings from the exhibit. Both were transferred to the Archives from the Exhibits Media Office (Accession 09-281) at the Museum and were originally on audiocassettes. Listen in to the recordings and be transported for a brief moment to 1994.

[Female singers - Begin Hawaiian chant]

[Female singers - Hawaiian chant gets softer]

[Male narrator - Poem]

On the craters rim

Her beloved volcanic home

For the Goddess they dance.

 

In cooling mists of healing rain

Their bare feet grace the ancient land

And their lithe supple bodies garland in green

Flow in unison to ancestral feminine chant.

 

Hear the melodic retelling, her story eternal

The pounding heart breath homage of women

Sheroes who bring the stirring of this night.

 

Silhouetted against Pacific sky

Chorus of angels untouched

Virgins of Pele, Sing.

 

Sing the history of a people unchanged

Undaunted

Survivors of story and the magical power of prayer.

 

[Female singers - Hawaiian chant fades out]

[Drums and other instruments begin playing]

[Group of singers - Vocalizations begin]

[Male singer] Who was singing?

[Female singer] You blow it then

[Group of singers - Indecipherable speaking then laughing]

[Female singer] We'll use that next time

[Group of singers - Laughing]

[Male singer] Hey that's wild yeah?

[Group of singers - Singing accompanied with music, occasional laughter can be heard]

[Group of singers] Happy Trails to you, until we meet again. Happy Trails to you, keep smiling until then. Happy Trails to you, till we meet again.

[Group of singers - Laughing along with horse sounds]

[Group of singers - Indecipherable speaking then laughing]

[Female singer] It was a take.

There are 21 more audio recordings that are digitized from this accession, covering more subjects such as artist talks, performance recordings, and other sound elements used in the exhibition. This is just a small portion of the audiovisual materials that are contained in the accession's 23 records storage boxes of interviews with artists; site visit recordings; meeting, conference, presentation, and performance recordings; and exhibition installation recordings that can be found on VHS, Betacam-SP, U-matic, D2, and Hi-8 videotapes as well as on DAT audiotapes. This rich source of materials provides a glimpse of the work and voices that went into creating and enriching the inaugural exhibition, This Path We Travel.

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