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Splendid Heritage Programming



Lecture Series


A series of free lectures aimed at providing a variety of information and points-of-view has been organized and will take place in the UMFA Dumke Auditorium.

No reservations are necessary.


Understanding Splendid Heritage:
Perspectives on American Indian Art

Clinton Nagy, Curator, Splendid Heritage Collection

Thursday, February 12, 2009 • 1:30 pm

As cultures collided across the North American continent, American Indians drew inspiration from different European objects. Clinton Nagy, curator of the Splendid Heritage collection, will discuss the impact of economic, geographical, and social changes during the nineteenth century on the design and creation of American Indian art.


The Art of Karl Bodmer

James Swensen, Assistant Professor of Art History, Brigham Young University

Thursday, March 12, 2009 • 1:30 pm

In 1832-34, the Swiss artist, Karl Bodmer, accompanied Maximilian, Prince of Wied-Neuwied, on an expedition of the Upper Missouri river country. Bodmer painted numerous watercolors of the Native people he met, ultimately creating hand-colored aquatint engravings which were published in the book Maximilian’s Travels in the Interior of North America. Many of Bodmer’s images have been used throughout the exhibition and a special exhibition of his work will be on view at the UMFA from February 27 to June 21. Historian James Swensen’s lecture will explore Bodmer’s art, its context, and what we can learn from it today.

Dual Perspectives—Insights on American Indian Art and Culture

Emma Hansen, Co-curator of the exhibition and Curator, Plains Indian Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY Bernadette Brown, Co-curator of the exhibition and UMFA Curator of Africa, Oceanic and New World Art

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 • 7 pm

The co-curators of the Splendid Heritage exhibition will discuss the cultural and aesthetic approach used to interpret the objects in the exhibition, providing an informative overview of the Plains Indians and Eastern Woodlands Indians material on view.


Peace Pipe: The Calumet in Native Diplomacy before Lewis and Clark

Brett Rushforth, Assistant Professor of History, College of William and Mary

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 • 7 pm

Professor Rushforth will discuss the calumet, or peace pipe, and its changing role in Native diplomacy in the West, especially after Spanish and French traders introduced new goods, animals, and diseases beginning in the 1600s. Rushforth will examine the meaning of the calumet ceremony, from its origins among the Pawnee to its place in Native cultural relations in the era of European exploration and colonization.


Ghost Dances and Identity

Greg Smoak, Associate Professor of History, Colorado State University

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 • 7 pm

The Ghost Dance, a powerful religious movement about hope and renewal that spread throughout the Plains in 1889-90, has become a metaphor for the death of American Indian culture. Professor Greg Smoak argues that the Ghost Dance was not the desperate fantasy of a dying people but rather a powerful reclaiming of what it means to be American Indian. In his lecture, Smoak will examine wide-ranging issues of religion, politics, and identity through an analysis of the American Indian Ghost Dance movement.


The Ball-Headed War Club as Weapon, Ritual Object, and Artifact

Eric Hinderaker, Professor of History, University of Utah

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 • 7 pm

Professor Eric Hinderaker will focus on the fascinating ball-headed war clubs on view in the Splendid Heritage exhibition. He will explore the culture of war among Native peoples of the Northeast, a context in which the intimacy of violence shaped the war club's power and meaning. They functioned as ritual objects as well as weapons, as so linked communal action with an individual warrior's masculine honor. In the post contact era, war clubs have become objects of facination outside of their original contexts, becoming in the process both art objects and ethnographic artifacts.


Historic Tribal Art and Cultural Continuity:
Persistence of Belief and Ritual

Arthur Amiotte, scholar and artist

Wednesday, December 2 • 7 pm

Scholar, educator, and renowned American Indian artist Arthur Amiotte will present a lecture on the persistence of belief and ritual in American Indian objects. Don't miss the opportunity to examine historic artworks in the Splendid Heritage exhibition, and then learn about the continuation of culture and spirituality through contemporary American Indian art objects.


Film Series


All films are free and will be screened in the UMFA Dumke Auditorium. UMFA Curator, Bernadette Brown will briefly introduce each film and lead a post-film discussion.


More Than Bows and Arrows • (1994) -  60 minutes

Saturday, February 28, 2009 • 2 pm

Long before the first Europeans reached North America, generations of Native American Indians flourished and developed a proud heritage. This documentary travels into the past in order to learn about these cultures, and examines the profound impact Native cultures had on the development the United States and Canada.

Powwow Highway • (1989) - 88 min.

Saturday, March 28, 2009 • 2 pm

Buddy Red Bow is struggling, in the face of persecution and political in-fighting, to keep his nation on a Montana Crow Reservation financially solvent and independent. Philbert, a simple-minded friend of Buddy's, ardently pursues Native American/First Nation wisdom and lore wherever he can find it - even on Bonanza. Together they face the realities and dreams of being Crow in the modern-day United States.

Cheyenne Autumn •  (1964) - 154 min. - Not Rated

Saturday, April 25, 2009 • 2 pm

Directed by John Ford, this film centers around chiefs Little Wolf and Dull Knife as they endeavor to lead more than 300 starved and weary Cheyenne people on a 1,500 mile journey back to their ancestral hunting grounds. The U.S. government sees this as an act of rebellion, and the sympathetic Captain Thomas Archer is forced to lead his troops in an attempt to stop the tribe. Cheyenne Autumn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session.

Sitting Bull • (1954) - 105 min. - Not Rated

Saturday, May 23, 2009 • 2 pm

Although marred by historical inaccuracies, actor J. Carrol Naish gives a noble and sympathetic performance as the title character in this classic Hollywood western. The film is a biography of the well-known Sioux leader who predicted disaster for the U.S. cavalry in the famous Last Stand at Little Bighorn. UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session.

The Black Robe • (1991) - 101 min.

Saturday, June 27, 2009 • 2 pm

In 1634, Father Laforgue, a Jesuit missionary, arrived in the New World, hoping to convert the Huron Indian tribe to Catholicism and to expedite the French colonization of Quebéc. Regarded by the Huron with a combination of warmth and wariness, they soon refer to Laforgue and his fellow priests as "black robes." The by-the-book Laforgue does little to endear himself to the Indians - one of whom labels the priest a demon and predicts that he will bring nothing but death and destruction to the Huron people. UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session


Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart (2006) - 83 min.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 • 2 pm

Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart is an intimate documentary on the great Indian chief and spiritual leader. This documentary is an oral history, the story of Tatanka-Iyotanka in his own words, recited in earnest authenticity by artist and activist Adam Fortunate Eagle. The film centers around Sitting Bull talking about his life on the Northern Plains, the Battle of the Little Big Horn and finally, his complicated views of Euro- American culture. The film premiered in November 2006 at the American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco and received the Best Documentary Award at the 2008 Big Water Film Festival.
UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session


 Skins • (2002) - 84 min. - Rated R for language and violence

Saturday, September 26, 2009 • 2 pm

Created by award-winning Native American producer and director Chris Eyre, Skins is a gritty tale of Rudy Yellow Lodge, an investigator with the police department, and his brother Mogie, a severe alcoholic. The two men are members of the Pine Ridge Reservation, the famous site of the Wounded Knee Massacre, and their reality is a life in a dreary slum. Faced with a cycle of poverty, violence and despair, Rudy goes on a quest to avenge himself, his family, and his culture. UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session. 


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee • (2007) - 133 min. - Not Rated

Saturday, October 24, 2009 • 2 pm

Beginning with the Sioux victory over General Custer at Little Big Horn, this film intertwines the unique perspectives of three characters: a young Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation; Sitting Bull, the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies; and Senator Henry Dawes, one of the architects of U.S. policies on Indian affairs. Focusing on the events leading up to the massacre of the Sioux, the film chronicles what many consider one of the most grievous atrocities in United States history. UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session. 

The Last of the Mohicans • (1992) - 112 min. - Rated R for violence

Saturday, November 28, 2009 • 2 pm

Set in 1757 during the French and Indian War when the British and French are battling for control of North America, this epic film is based on James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel. Settlers and American Indians are forced to take sides, romances unfold, a Native tribe fights for survival, and violence and war break out all around.  UMFA Curator and Splendid Heritage Co-curator, Bernadette Brown, will give an introduction and lead a post-film Q&A session


Class for Adults

American Indian Art of the Northeast and Plains

Wednesdays, April 8, 15, 22, 29, & May 6 • 6 – 8 pm

Dumke Auditorium, UMFA

Working primarily with beads, feathers, and leather, American Indians of the Northeast and Plains created a legacy of art, weapons, and clothing of incredible beauty and ingenuity. In this class co-sponsored by the UMFA and the U of U Lifelong Leaning Program, participants will spend time in the exhibition and explore the customs and traditions of Native people both before and after European contact. The class will focus on their adaptation to new environments, spiritual life, and the function of art within their communities. The class will be taught by Splendid Heritage co-curator, Bernadette Brown.

Advanced registration is required. Please call (801) 587-5433 to register.

Fee: UMFA Members: $116 (use code LLPOT 685-002)/Non-members: $129 (use code LLPOT 685-001)


Evening for Educators: American Indian Art

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 • 5:30 – 8:30 pm

This workshop for educators is aimed at helping teachers discover a variety of approaches for incorporating American Indian art and culture from the Plains and Northeast regions into the classroom curriculum. Geared towards teachers in all disciplines and grade levels, the workshop is free and no prior registration is necessary. Packets containing images of art works from the UMFA collection and lesson plans with cross-curriculum lessons created by educators will be available for a donation of $5. State in-service credit is available. Teachers who attend five evenings (15 hours) and complete a field test, can receive one hour of in-service credit. For more information call the UMFA at 585-7163, or email Evening for Educators is funded, in part, by the StateWide Art Partnership.


Activities for Children & Families:

Third Saturday for Families: Beads

Saturday April 18, 2009 • 2 pm

Something fun is always happening for families at the UMFA on the Third Saturday of every month. The focus of the program in April will be American Indian art and the Splendid Heritage exhibition. Join us for an exciting tour through a variety of beaded objects and create a beaded leather bracelet to take home.  Admission to the UMFA is FREE on Third Saturdays.

Made possible by Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks.


Family Backpacks

For a more in-depth experience, visitors can check out a Family Backpack designed to guide you through the exhibition and understand more about the horse culture of Plains Indians. The backpacks can be checked out at the Museum’s front desk and are free with paid admission. FREE on a first-come, first-served basis. 


Class for Children


American Indian Art

July 27-30, 2009 • 10 am-12:30 pm

For children ages 6-12

This summer, the UMFA will host this special in-depth exploration of American Indian art and the Splendid Heritage exhibition. Join us for this unique opportunity to explore American Indian art, materials and techniques in-depth through daily hands-on art making and gallery games. Advanced registration required. For information email: To register, please call 581-6984. Fee: $80 plus $20 special fee. 







Marcia & John Price Museum Building | 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0350 | Phone: 801-581-7332 | Site by CentralPoint - Disclaimer