Oak Native American Gallery has history on display

AKRON, Ohio – Indigenous Peoples Day took place on Monday, October 11.

What would you like to know

  • The Oak Native American Gallery features a large collection of artifacts from across the country
  • Native American artists are in the spotlight
  • The gallery is open to the public

It was a day to celebrate Native American history and culture.

At the Oak Native American Gallery at Akron University, they strive to honor Indigenous traditions throughout the year.

Francisca Ugalde is curator of the gallery, which displays a variety of Native American objects such as tools, blankets, baskets and ceremonial items.

“Right now this space is sort of divided into four regions,” Ugalde explained. “We have the Arctic, the subarctic, the northwest coast, we are walking in the Great Basin and the southwest.”

The exhibition gives people the opportunity to get up close and personal with many ancient artefacts.

Ugalde said it was important to help the public better understand the true history of Native Americans.

“The history that is taught in schools is very limited when it comes to Native American history, indigenous history,” she said. “It stops at certain times and it’s very Eurocentric, so the perspective that’s being told is really from the winner’s point of view.”

Besides educating the general public, one of the main goals of this exhibit is to create a platform for Native Americans.

“Our goal as custodians of Native American materials is to create a space that is available for contemporary Native American artists to speak for themselves and showcase their work,” she said. “(To) help teach Indigenous issues and stories to the general public.”

One of the ways they create a platform for natives is to showcase the work of contemporary Native American artists.

Right now they have ‘The Art of Claire Heldman: Lakota Wiá’ on display.

This exhibition will be visible until January 29, 2022.

“So we’ve already scheduled our Native American artist for next year, but to showcase her work here, but we’re always looking for more artists to continue this tradition of exhibiting work,” she said.

The gallery is open to the public.

You can get tickets at the Cummings Center at Akron University.