American Indian Studies professor Jill Doerfler attends art of Native America event
On Oct. 2, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City hosted an preview event for the “Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Collection”.
Jill Doerfler, American Indian studies department head and professor at UMD, was invited to this event after contributing a statement about the exhibit.
“The exhibit consists of historic American Indian works of art and includes works of art from several tribes and regions in the US,” Doerfler said. “I was invited to the event because I contributed an overview statement for the exhibit regarding the impacts of colonization in the Woodlands from contact through the late 1800s.”
Doerfler explained the preview event was held to give all of the scholars who wrote statements to a chance to connect, see the exhibit before it opens to the public and to provide historical context to the art in the exhibit.
At UMD, the American Indian Studies department offers opportunities for students to major or minor in American Indian Studies and the department works to raise awareness about American Indian communities.
“Both the media and popular culture continue to replicate long standing stereotypes about American Indians and all the faculty in the department work to dispel that misinformation and provide students with an understanding of the diverse and complex American Indian peoples, nations and communities today,” Doerfler said.
“The department also collaborates with MnDOT to offer the Tribal State Relations Training program, which has trained more than 2,000 state employees. The department also has two master programs: tribal administration and governance and tribal natural resources and environmental stewardship,” Doerfler said.
Joseph Bauerkemper, American Indian studies associate professor, shared what the American Indian studies department and students are currently doing on campus such as events and different outreach programs.
“While the UMD Indigenous Student Organization (ISO) is a campus-wide campus life program, it does have a close and productive relationship with our department,” Bauerkemper said. “The department often co-sponsors events with the ISO, such as the on-campus winter storytelling event. The ISO is also working more and more with UMD's chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society to coordinate outreach and events. In addition to partnering with the ISO, [the] department works with other academic units and campus entities to put on community oriented events.”
The American Indian Studies department is in the process of working with the Tweed on a “potential long-term project to leverage the impressive holdings of the Tweed in contemporary Native art for educational, community outreach and scholarly purposes,” Bauerkemper said.
Bauerkemper hopes that these thought-provoking events will help others understand that American Indian people are “living and thriving here and now.”
“There are eleven sovereign American Indian nations that overlap territorially, jurisdictionally, and demographically with the state of Minnesota, and citizens from tribal nations based in many other states call Minnesota, and our campus, home,” Bauerkemper said.