Last night I went to a presentation by Annika Johnson, the curator of Native American art for Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. She’s a lovely young woman and we had a nice visit before and after her presentation. Ms. Johnson spoke about Joslyn’s current exhibit about Karl Bodmer, who painted water colors of Native Americans in the 1800s. I added two short films to this post which she produced. There are four short films in all. They can be found on the Joslyn Art Museum website. All are worth watching.
Something I noticed in the film and which Ms. Johnson also mentioned in her presentation, was the Native American’s belief that preserving their language is vitally important.
My upcoming book, Epic Slav/Czech History features the history of the Slavic and Czech people through the art of Alphonse Mucha, a Czech artist. Mucha lived in the early 1900s in Austria Hungary, and painted twenty room-sized paintings called The Slav Epic.
One thing Mucha felt very strongly about, and which I learned during my research was that Czechs throughout history were similar to the Native Americans in that they also felt very strongly about preserving their language. Both of these groups of people were controlled by governments who told them they couldn’t be who they truly were, specifically with their language. Governments essentially tried to rob them of their identity. Yet they have survived, often due to humble persistence.
My motivation to write the book I’ll soon present was just my own need to understand the history of the people I came from. Not just what my genetics tell me or what the names of my family members were, but what they lived through in the country of their origin. I hope by sharing what I’ve learned, maybe in my own little way I will help to preserve a little of my ancestor’s culture and language.
Here is another video I want to share because it shows a quiet and humble group of Native American women, who through their simple love for who they are, and their patience and humility, end up saying and doing important things.