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Colgate Students Curate Native American History Exhibit

Colgate University students curate an exhibit of local Native American history in Hamilton, New York to educate locals about Natives past and present.
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One of the students who helped curate the new exhibit of local Native American objects at the Hamilton Public Library in Hamilton, New York has a family connection to one of the pieces—a statue, titled “Indian with Fan” was made by her father.

Lilyan Jones came to Colgate University, also in Hamilton, from the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation near Buffalo, New York. Her father, Peter B. Jones, is the Onondaga artist who created one of the objects in the exhibit she helped curate. The items for the exhibit came from the university’s Longyear Museum of Anthropology.

“We have things that go from 10,000 BC to the present,” Jones, a double major in sociology/anthropology and Native American studies, told Colgate University News.

Jones and Gillian Weaver, another Colgate student who helped curate the exhibit, poured through the thousands of artifacts in the Longyear collection to put together a local history.

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The exhibit, Local Legacies: A Look at the Material Culture of Indigenous Peoples in the Hamilton, N.Y. Area, features items such as early stone tools, to contemporary Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture.

Jordan Kerber, anthropology and Native American studies professor, said the students chose items that would best teach about local Native Americans, both in the past and the present.

“The Longyear collection is, I would say, the best and most comprehensive collection of Iroquois materials, especially Oneida, in the region,” Kerber told Colgate University News. “It has been tremendous, not just as a resource for the community, but for Colgate students. Every course I teach at Colgate includes some aspect of that collection.”

The exhibit will remain open at the Hamilton Library, 13 Broad St., in Hamilton, New York, through the summer.