Atalay, S. (2006). No sense of the struggle: Creating a context for survivance at the NMAI. The American India Quarterly, 30 (3,4), 597-618.
What is Sacred:
NMAI is the National Museum of the American Indian, one of our nation's free Smithsonian museums and my favorite place to grab lunch when in DC. It is a beautiful building at the end of the mall but I just flit in and out and don't read too closely. It feels like I am walking on graves sometimes.
This article is a loving critique of the NMAI from an Indigenous archeologist and focuses on the gaps in the story, specifically around survivance, versus just colonization and survival.
Survivance is defined by Gerald Vizenor as "more than survival, more than endurance or mere response; the stories of survivance are an active presence. . .The native stories of survivance are successive and natural estates; survivance is an active repudiation of dominance, tragedy, and victimry" (15).
Read his stories in Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence
What I took from this article:
We as native peoples, have many stories to tell. We have a unique way of viewing the world, and it is one that has been severely affected by colonization yet is ever changing and resilient. Bringing Native voices to the foreground to share these experiences and worldviews is a critical part of readjusting the power balance to ensure that Native people control their own heritage, representation, and histories. (p.615)Connections to Current/Future Work:
I used Vizenor's term survivance in the chapter I just submitted with my Mana Wahine group, Stories of Native Educators in Hawaiʻi Navigating Their EdD Journeys:
Out of “survivance” (Vizenor, 1998), a group of women, like magnets, formed a group to hold on to each other, eat, laugh, and cry together, and fuse our stories together as Mana Wahine.I just wanted to read more articles with that concept to make sure that I am using it in the same intent, and yes, I am, but you know, check, check.