Native American exhibit explores use of treaties
An official opening ceremony will be held Tuesday for "Why Treaties Matter," an exhibit at Mayo Clinic about the impact of Dakota and Ojibwe treaties on the development of Minnesota.
The exhibit, which has actually been open to the public since July 16, consists of informational panels, videos and displays of Native American crafts and artifacts. The materials trace how Native Americans made treaties with European settlers, in particular in Minnesota, and explain how those treaties have ramifications even today.
"This exhibit has several opportunities to drive conversation and dialog," said Sandra Burrowes, of Mayo's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. "People come out of here and say, 'I never knew what this history was.'"
In addition to the main exhibit in the Mathews Grand Lobby of the Mayo Building, a second set of the display panels has been erected at Saint Marys Hospital.
The panels, with illustrations and text, deal with, among other topics, the clash of cultures between Indians and white settlers, how treaties changed the Native American way of life, how broken treaties led to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the Dakota diaspora in the wake of that war, the 20th century exploitation of tribal lands and modern-day tribal government.
Visitors to the Mayo Building portion of the exhibit can also view books from the Mayo Clinic library related to Native American medicine, as well as Native American hand-made items, including a drum, blanket, saddle and moose skin moccasins. There is also a collection of treaty medallions given to signers of treaties with the federal government.
The exhibit coincides with, but is not entirely related to, the 150th anniversary of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. "It's wonderful timing because people are interested in this," Burrowes said.
Tuesday's official opening will include a Native American drum ceremony at 5 p.m. on Annenberg Plaza, outside the Mayo Building.
"Why Treaties Matter" was developed by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibit is open during normal business hours through Aug. 15.