Imagine two kids on the playground: a hippie kid, and a big, mean kid in boat shoes named Chet.
The hippie kid is doing fine in school until Chet transfers in. Chet kicks the crap out of the hippie kid, kills his family, and lights his house on fire.
If you’re thinking Chet sounds unkind, welcome to American history. Take a seat. Chet does plenty more for hundreds of years.
The United States has apologetically carved out a space dedicated to the hippie kid. The National Museum of the American Indian is a smooth, striking building in muted tones that nestles in with the other Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. The exterior has no angles.
I find its blobbiness appealing. I’m sure someone bitched about it, though. People always hate cool architecture.
Inside the museum, there are a variety of exhibits, including the Treaty exhibit, which details “the diplomacy, promises, and betrayals involved in two hundred years of treaty-making between the United States and Native Nations, as one side sought to own the riches of North America and the other struggled to hold on to its homelands and ways of life.”
The extensive sadness of the Treaty exhibit cannot be overstated.
However, there were also tons of exhibits that were charming. My favorites were the ones with artifacts.
I love artifacts.
I could draw artifacts all day.
My favorite artifacts are masks.
And my favorite masks were the Inti Raymi Festival masks (drawn on bottom right). They look just like Guy Fawkes masks. (Or, as my mom called them, “the masks those hackers use.”)
Going to one of these Peruvian festivals has just been placed onto my bucket list!
Overall, I recommend this museum. There is a tinge of sadness associated with it, due to the obvious; but the overall feeling is celebratory, historical, and hopeful.