Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World

Ongoing
Washington, DC

Our Universes focuses on indigenous cosmologies—worldviews and philosophies related to the creation and order of the universe—and the spiritual relationship between humankind and the natural world. Organized around the solar year, the exhibition introduces visitors to indigenous peoples from across the Western Hemisphere who continue to express the wisdom of their ancestors in celebration, language, art, spirituality, and daily life.

The community galleries feature eight cultural philosophies—those of the Pueblo of Santa Clara (Espanola, New Mexico, USA), Anishinaabe (Hollow Water and Sagkeeng Bands, Manitoba, Canada), Lakota (Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, USA), Quechua (Communidad de Phaqchanta, Cusco, Peru), Hupa (Hoopa Valley, California, USA), Q'eq'chi' Maya (Cobán, Guatemala), Mapuche (Temuco, Chile), and Yup'ik (Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, USA). The design of these galleries reflects each community's interpretation of the order of the world.The exhibition also highlights the Denver (Colorado) March Powwow, the North American Indigenous Games, and the Day of the Dead as seasonal celebrations that bring Native peoples together.

Lakota model baby carrier with porcupine-quill embroidery (detail), North or South Dakota, ca. 1880. Photo by Walter Larrimore, NMAI. (12/2308)

Lakota model baby carrier with porcupine-quill embroidery (detail), North or South Dakota, ca. 1880. Photo by Walter Larrimore, NMAI. (12/2308)

Lakota model baby carrier with porcupine-quill embroidery, North or South Dakota, ca. 1880. Photo by Walter Larrimore, NMAI. (12/2308)

Lakota model baby carrier with porcupine-quill embroidery, North or South Dakota, ca. 1880. Photo by Walter Larrimore, NMAI. (12/2308)

Lakota model baby carrier with porcupine-quill embroidery, North or South Dakota, ca. 1880. Photo by Walter Larrimore, NMAI. (12/2308)
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