IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas [Exhibition Opening]

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas [Exhibition Opening]

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January 19, 2016 6:00 PM–8:00 PM

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum presents the Smithsonian traveling exhibition IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas and a public Opening Reception on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Admission is free.

This exhibition focuses on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dualAfrican American and Native American ancestry. Through the themes of policy, community, creative resistance and lifestyles, the exhibition tells stories of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. IndiVisible, produced by the National Museum of the American Indian in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), remains on view through November 1, 2016 and will then continue to travel to museums around the nation.


Since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, the lives of Native and African peoples have been closely intertwined. From pre-colonial times, they intermarried, established communities and shared their lives and traditions. But racially motivated laws oppressed and excluded them. Blended tribes worked to preserve their land and rebelled against displacement. Their survival strategies included involvement in social movements, joining together to fight oppressive conditions and regaining economic sustainability.

 Their unique African-Native American cultural practices through food, language, writing, music, dance and the visual arts have thrived. 

“The topic of African-Native Americans is one that touches a great number of individuals through family histories, tribal histories, and personal identities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide, alienation from our ancestral homelands, and the exhibition acknowledges the strength and resilience we recognize in one another today.” 

“We are proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “African American oral tradition is full of stories about ‘Black Indians,’ with many black families claiming Indian blood.” 

The exhibition was curated by leading scholars, educators and community leaders including Gabrielle Tayac, (Piscataway), Robert Keith Collins, (African-Choctaw descent), Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Judy Kertèsz, Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag) and Thunder Williams (Afro-Carib). 

African-Native Americans from across North America share their perspectives in a 10-minute video in the exhibition. 

The accompanying exhibition book, IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, edited by Tayac, features 27 essays from authors across the hemisphere sharing first-person accounts of struggle, adaptation, and survival and examines such diverse subjects as contemporary art, the Cherokee Freedmen issue, and the evolution of jazz and blues. The illustrated 256-page book is available online at, and is available for purchase at Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. 

An online version of the exhibition and full national tour schedule are available at

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Akaloa Resource Foundation and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. 

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an act of Congress in 2003, and is being erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Currently, during the construction phase, the museum is presenting exhibitions, producing publications, hosting public events, and offering an array of interactive programs and educational resources at the museum on the Web at

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C. for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives int he Americas is a traveling exhibition curated jointly by the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

For more information, please call 760.833.8169 or e-mail us at

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
219 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs