OU ‘Native Voices’ exhibition opens with reception, performance

NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma Libraries will open Native Voices Over the Airwaves: The Indians for Indians Hour Radio Show Nov. 14 in Bizzell Memorial Library, 401 W. Brooks St. Opening events include a reception at 2:30 p.m. in the library, followed by a 7 p.m. performance inspired by the radio show at Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St., as a part of the OU School of Music’s Ruggles Native American Music Series.

Broadcast over OU’s WNAD radio station, the Indians for Indians program aired from 1941 through the mid 1970s. The show was created and originally hosted by Don Whistler, chief of the Sac and Fox tribe, and continued by OU’s Sequoyah Indian Club. 

“The Indians for Indians Hour was a vibrant blend of Native music and speech on an incredible array of topics, including community life, military service, religion, education and advocacy for Native rights,” exhibit curator Lina Ortega said. “It represents an incredible snapshot of U.S. history as told through Native American experience. This exhibition is a way to bring together campus and statewide communities to explore Oklahoma and U.S. history through Native voices and to promote this collection as a resource for scholarship and cultural revitalization.”

The reception at 2:30 p.m. will include remarks by Sac and Fox Principal Chief Justin F. Wood as well as by Donna Williams, who is a granddaughter of Chief Whistler. The 7 p.m. performance will be an intertribal tribute to the Indians for Indians show, with most of the performers being descendants of participants on the radio show. 

“The diversity of music and tribes represented ties in well with the OU School of Music’s Ruggles Native American Music series, which highlights Native American music and dance,” Ortega said. 

The exhibition’s opening events are co-sponsored by OU Libraries, the School of Music in the OU Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts, the Native American Studies Department in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and the Native Nations Center.

OU Libraries received a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to digitize 200 hours of the radio program on 152 open-reel tapes held in their Western History Collections.

The CLIR Recordings at Risk preservation grant enables the University Libraries to preserve these important recordings and to make them available online, with much improved audio quality through the expert digitization by the Northeast Document Conservation Center. 

These files will be accessible through the libraries website at repository.ou.edu by Nov. 14. A related exhibition, The Indians for Indians Radio Show: Sports and Recreation, is on display now through Jan. 30, 2020, in the Western History Collections Reading Room, room 300 of Monnet Hall, 630 Parrington Oval. Native Voices over the Airwaves will remain on display in Bizzell through Aug. 3, 2020. More information about both exhibits, as well as information regarding exhibition programming, can be found at exhibits.libraries.ou.edu

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APRIL 4–6 AT the SAM NOBLE MUSEUM in Norman, Oklahoma

Native Crossroads Film Festival is back for a seventh year with the theme “Futures” and highlights feature films, documentaries, animations and short films that consider how Indigenous people and communities are shaping the future. The Festival invites the public to explore the frontiers of Indigenous cinema. Native Crossroads Film Festival runs from April 4-6 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman.  All films, speakers and panels are free and open to the public. 

This year’s lineup of films asks audiences to envision future landscapes impacted by intergenerational relationships, familial ties, traditional practices, technological advances and environmental concerns of Native communities.  These innovative films point to the past and present as ways to contemplate the future for Indigenous people around the world. 

For three days, audiences will experience some of the most notable works in global Indigenous cinema. The festival continues its commitment of bringing a diversity of voices from filmmakers, scholars, and tribal representatives.  An exciting addition to this year’s festival will be video gaming demonstrations where festival attendees can explore the world of Indigenous storytelling through digital media.