July 8, 2015
A new traveling exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, which examines concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people, has opened in Juneau.
The display, produced by the National Library of Medicine, explores the connection between wellness, illness, and cultural life through a combination of interviews with Native people, artwork, objects, and interactive media.
The free exhibition opened in the Sealaska lobby and will be available to the public from 7:30 am-5:30 pm, Monday-Friday through Sept. 7. Sealaska Heritage Institute helped coordinate the event, said SHI President Rosita Worl.
“The exhibition carries an important message that dovetails with our core cultural values exhibit currently in the Walter Soboleff Building across the street,” said Worl. “It especially resonates with our core values Haa Latseen—Our Strength—which relates to strength of mind, body and spirit—and Haa Aaní, which traces our spiritual connection to our land.
The National Library of Medicine has a history of working with Native communities as part of the Library’s commitment to make health information resources accessible to people no matter where they live or work. The Native Voices exhibition concept grew out of meetings with Native leaders in Alaska, Hawai`i and the Lower 48.
“This exhibition honors the Native tradition of oral history and establishes a unique collection of information,” says Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, director of the National Library of Medicine. “We hope visitors will find Native Voices both educational and inspirational, and we hope Native people will view it with pride.”
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world’s largest library of the health sciences and collections, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. It celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit the website at www.nlm.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation’s medical research agency. It includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
About the traveling exhibition
Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness examines concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The traveling exhibition features interviews and works from Native people living on reservations, in tribal villages, and in cities. Topics include: Native views of land, food, community, earth/nature, and spirituality as they relate to Native health; the relationship between traditional healing and Western medicine in Native communities; economic and cultural issues that affect the health of Native communities; efforts by Native communities to improve health conditions; and the role of Native Americans in military service and healing support for returning Native veterans.
To make the Native Voices information accessible to people even if they can’t come to Juneau, there is an online version of the exhibition at www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices.
CONTACT: Chuck Smythe, SHI Culture and History Director, 907.463.4844; Kathy Cravedi, National Library of Medicine, 301.496.6308