Exhibit

Americans

An underrated Smithsonian asset at The National Museum of the American Indian

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The Museum of the American Indian is mostly known among Washingtonians for its cafeteria; it's the best place to eat on the National Mall. 

But the permanent exhibit "Americans" is an underrated Smithsonian asset. Built from hundreds of common references to Native Americans—from the woman kneeling on every box of Land O'Lakes butter to a video loop of Cher in a feathered headdress to models of Apache helicopters—the central hall fills visitors with a warm sense of familiarity before shunting them off into smaller installations that correct misconceptions about everything from Pochahontas (yes, there's a plaque about Elizabeth Warren) to the Battle of Little Bighorn and the first Thanksgiving.

Visitors are left with a sense of how deeply Native American imagery and identity are embedded in mainstream American life, how intertwined our misconceptions are with those images, and how pop and commercial culture are the primary vectors for our positive associations with the people who were here first.

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  1. pop and commercial culture are the primary vectors for our positive associations with the people who were here first.

    So lets rename those Redskins, Indians, Redhawks, Braves, etc., to remove the positive associations. And get rid of those mascots. Smart.

    1. There is no way the Redskins are creating positive associations, have you seen them play?

    2. Of course all associations should be good. Lakota Indian activist, actor, and one-time accountant, Russell Means, once assured me that “the People” lived in a peaceful Eden with all the other tribes until the savage white eyes showed them how to kill, enslave, scalp, etc. all the other tribes. So anything bad you hear about Indians was the fault of the colonizers.

    3. You are such a bigoted clinger! You forgot the blackhawks. A woke society means you have to include everyone

      1. And the Seminoles of Florida.

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  3. Seems like this deserves a better, more in depth write up than something that reads like a blurb in the “things to do this weekend” section of the paper.

    1. Now, don’t go leaving a trail of tears behind you.

    2. I thought it was too short and slight too.
      Reason excels in their cultural pieces.
      I’d love to visit DC to check out this particular museum. This and the Hirschhorn.

      1. I like that dinosaur exhibit they have in DC. I think it’s called the House of Representatives, or something like that.

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