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Mutually Inclusive
A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

New Native American Exhibit At Grand Rapids Public Museum

Mariano Avila

 The Grand Rapids Public Museum is hosting an exhibit on the contemporary stories of Native Americans in Grand Rapids. With WGVU’s Mutually Inclusive, Mariano Avila has the story.

If I say Native American museum exhibit, you might not immediately think of iPhone cases and tuition legislation. But at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s “Walking Beyond Our Ancestor’s Footsteps” exhibit, you’d see that and more.  

“Our history from a contemporary perspective starting with the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Native American Relocation Act, and how we ended in a more urban setting.”

That’s Belinda Bardwell, she is the project coordinator for Grand Valley State University’s Kutsche Office of Local History and part of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.

“My favorite piece is this hat—it’s a fedora made out of cedar bark. It’s part of my friend’s collection Kevin Finney.

The exhibit is a partnership between GVSU and the Public Museum. Kate Moore, Vice President of Marketing at the museum, says she hopes timing the exhibit with spring break will give it hundreds of thousands of visits.

“It’s a great way to take our permanent exhibit Anishinabek People Of This Place, all about the Native American story here in West Michigan, and really bring it up to date.”

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