American Indian Smithsonian Museum

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Smithsonian Assignment
The second floor of National Museum of the American Indian contains many interesting exhibits that tell stories of American Indians, such as the livelihood of Native Americans in the present time and the culture of American Indians. There are many items that are related to American Indians’ lives in those exhibits. However, the author of this essay is interested in The American Indian which is the name of an oil painting that has been depicted in one of those exhibits, Our Live. This oil painting was painted on linen in 1970 by Fritz Scholder who was the renowned Native American artist of the 20th century. The painting depicts an American Indian man who beautifies his long black hair with a feather and holds a pipe tomahawk in front of the yellow and brown background. Additionally, the man covers the American flag over his body. The Our Live exhibit represents contemporary life and identities of American Indians. According to the website of National Museum of the American Indian, “The main section of Our Lives centers on various layers of identity. For Native people, identity--who you are, how you dress, what you think, where you fit in, and how you see yourself in the world--has been shaped by language, place, community membership, social and political consciousness, and customs and beliefs. But Native identity has also been influenced by a legacy of legal policies that have sought to determine who is Indian and who is not. The issue of Native identity continues to resonate today, as Native people across the Americas seek to claim the future on their own terms.” In other words, a significant number of Native Americans attempt to remain their identities; their languages, tradition, culture and custom although the English language, new culture and modern life style of modern Americans influence over their lives. As a result, all of the items that are shown in this exhibit express the view of American Indians about protecting or continuing...
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