The Madden Library at Fresno State is hosting exhibitions on Native Peoples’ health beginning this week.
A national traveling exhibition on Native Peoples’ concepts of health and illness opened Monday. The free, public interactive exhibit is on display during normal library hours in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery on the second floor (north wing) through Oct. 23.
The exhibition explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Stories drawn from both the past and present examine how health for Native People is tied to community, the land and spirit. Through interviews, natives describe the effects of epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land and the inhibition of culture on the health of individuals and communities.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine developed and produced the exhibit. The American Library Association Public Programs Office, in partnership with the U.S. National Library of Medicine, provides the exhibition to America’s libraries.
A free catered opening reception for the public will be outside the library gallery from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, California Native American Day. Reservations can be made by going to the library website and entering the code “LIBVOICES” or by calling Gregory Megee at 559-278-2595. The reception and weekend parking are free.
The reception will begin with a blessing by Keith Turner at the Native Garden (just north of the library in the Peace Garden). Turner, a spiritual leader and teacher of traditional culture and spiritual ways, will be joined on a speakers’ panel by Vickie Krenz, Fresno State public health professor, and Jennifer Ruiz, executive director of the Fresno American Indian Health Project.
On Friday, the Madden Library Special Collections Research Center will open another free exhibition: “Native Voices from the San Joaquin Valley.” The exhibition will be on display in the center on the fourth floor (south wing) through Dec. 9.
This local exhibition presents a view into the tribal cultures of the San Joaquin Valley and foothills. It features displays of basketry, foods and medicines, social activities, health resources, educational references and literature. A slideshow of photographs and video clips will be available.
“Native Voices of the San Joaquin Valley” is co-curated by Carly Tex (Western Mono) and Mandy Marine (Western Mono/Maidu), with Julie Moore and Adam Wallace of the Madden Library Special Collections Research Center.
And to coincide with the exhibitions, the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and the Arne Nixon Center Advocates will host a free, public catered reception followed by a presentation by Debbie Reese, educator and blog creator of “American Indians in Children’s Literature,” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 in Room 2206 on the second floor (south wing) of the library.
Reese is tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo in northern New Mexico and is a founding member of the Native American House and American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois. She is on the literature advisory board for Reading is Fundamental and the advisory board for Reach Out and Read: American Indian/Alaska Native.