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Special Events & Exhibits

Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness

In 2016, Rose State College was awarded a grant, written by one of our former librarians, to bring the Native Voices: Native Concepts of Health & Illness exhibit to our campus. The exhibit will run from September 14 - October 23, 2018. It comes to our campus in the middle of a four-year tour across the United States. Our calendar slot was chosen to allow time for the LRC renovation to be completed before it arrived. The exhibit is located in the corner display nook near the stairway on the north side of the Library.

Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Visitors will discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit, and the land.

The Library will be hosting two public events in conjunction with the exhibit. The first will be a showing of Don’t Get Sick After June on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 12:30PM in LRC 230/231. A limited amount of pizza will be provided. The second will be a moderated panel of Native American health specialists on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 3:00PM on the LRC, 2nd Floor. Dr. Janice Hixson of the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic and Jeremy Field of Thrive Unltd will be speaking on the topic of Physical and mental health issues related to the Native American Community in Oklahoma. Light refreshments will be provided.

Exhibit Background

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), in consultation with American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, has created the Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness exhibition. The 3,500-square-foot exhibition, currently on display at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, has been transformed into a traveling exhibition to make it accessible to communities outside NLM in Indian County and elsewhere.

The Native Voices Online Exhibition is one way the exhibit is made available to people who cannot travel to the NLM. The website contains video overviews, the timeline covered by the exhibit, interviews, and in-depth exploration of the exhibit. The American Library Association (ALA) is managing a multi-year national tour of the traveling exhibition Native Voices: Native Concepts of Health & Illness, which was developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) under the leadership of Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, NLM Director Emeritus.

Native Voices: Horizontal Logo

From the exhibit information packet:

The exhibition examines how wellness and illness are interconnected with cultural life. Stories drawn from both the past and the present examine how the determinants of health for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are tied to community, the land, and spirit. Through personal interviews, Native Peoples describe how individual and community wellness were affected by the political and cultural events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Individual reflections show the impact of epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land, and the inhibition of culture on the health of Native individuals and communities today. Collectively, these stories convey how Native People use both traditional and Western methods to enhance wellness, ultimately presenting an inspiring account of renaissance, recovery, and self-determination.

Native Voices is divided into five distinct themes—Individual, Community, Nature, Tradition, and Healing—that touch upon the following topics:

  • Native views and definitions of health and illness
  • Native views of Land, Food, Community, the Earth/Nature, and Spirituality as they relate to Native health and illness
  • Contemporary and historical roles of traditional healing in Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian cultures
  • Relationship of traditional healing and Western medicine in Native communities
  • Native stories about the practice of healing
  • Native traditions and activities that promote health and healing
  • Issues of economic development and the impact on the health of Native communities
  • Role of Native Americans in military service as an element of pride, honor, sense of tribal health, and commitment to tribe and country
  • Contemporary intergenerational views of Native health, including those of Native elders, women, and youth
  • Current work by Native communities and leadership to improve their community and individual health conditions

Native Voices: Spirit of Eagles LogoThe traveling exhibition comprises six free-standing banners and either two or six iPad stands (depending on the traveling exhibition version). The title banner introduces the exhibition; each of the other five banners focuses on one of the main themes. The iPads complement and enhance the banners by providing a robust selection of videos, imagery, and personal stories that delve into those themes.

Using the iPads, visitors can:

  • watch interviews of tribal leaders, healers, physicians, and other health care professionals, along with clergy, educators, and students;
  • experience the journey of the healing totem from the Lummi Nation in Washington State to the site of its permanent home at the National Library of Medicine;
  • follow the voyage of the Hōkūle'a canoe in Hawai‘i, an icon of Hawaiian culture and health; and
  • learn about the unique role played by the Navajo Code Talkers during World War II.

The College serves a diverse community and population of students. The LRC supports the mission of the College in making academic resources available to students, faculty, and staff that help bridge cultures. Part of the reason we experience mistrust between people of different cultures is because we don’t understand their cultural background. Exhibits such as the Native Voices exhibit help build pathways to understanding people of different cultures.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) developed and produced Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness. The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in partnership with NLM, tours the exhibition to America’s libraries.

American Library Association LogoU.S. National Library of Medicine Logo

Contact Info


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Location: 1st floor, LRC

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