​​​​​​​Dancing for My Tribe: Portraits of Potawatomi in regalia on display at AMBS

​​​​​​​Dancing for My Tribe: Portraits of Potawatomi in regalia on display at AMBS

Fourth-graders from Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Indiana, visited the AMBS campus in April to view an exhibit of 22 nearly life-sized images of modern-day Potawatomi Indians in their regalia by Sharon Hoogstraten, visual storyteller, photographer and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The exhibit is on display at AMBS until June 12.

Photographer to speak at AMBS May 31

ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — Dancing for My Tribe: Photos of Potawatomi Regalia in the New Millennium, an exhibit of 22 nearly life-size photographic portraits of contemporary Potawatomi Indians in regalia, is on display at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), 3003 Benham Avenue, May 12 – June 12.

The exhibit is the work of Sharon Hoogstraten, visual storyteller, photographer and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, who took the photos on reservation lands in Oklahoma, Michigan and Wisconsin. According to Hoogstraten, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and resident of Chicago, Illinois, the portraits reflect the world of wholly modern people who are descendants of original inhabitants of the Great Lakes region — preserving their culture with intent while also adapting tradition to contemporary life and their own personal stories.

Dancing for My Tribe is my photographic legacy — these portraits and each subject’s handwritten personal narrative of their regalia,” Hoogstraten notes in a guide to the exhibit. “My objective is to create images so compelling that they become the record for our place on the timeline of Potawatomi and American history.”

Hoogstraten has a Bachelor of Science in Professional Photography from the Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology and a Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to photography, she has worked in graphic design, animation, film and video.

“My pride in my Potawatomi roots is part of my motivation, but this is also my personal journey into a deeper appreciation for the artistry that survived the hardships endured by my ancestors,” she writes. “I want to portray the evolution of our traditional dress as interpreted by descendants who live in a world of sewing machines, duct tape, acrylics, tattoos, hair-dos and manicures, favorite sports teams and service to our country. Indian regalia is not a re-enactment or artifact of the past, but uniquely created expressions of our lives today.”

Hoogstraten will speak at AMBS on May 31 as part of an event that will launch AMBS’s Trail of Death Pilgrimage class (June 1–9). Titled The Trail of Death: A Pilgrimage of Remembrance, Lament and Transformation, the summer AMBS course traces the route of the 1838 forced removal of Potawatomi people by the U.S. military from their ancestral homeland in northern Indiana to present-day Osawatomie, Kansas. Pilgrims on the nine-day journey will remember the history of this expulsion through reading journals from the removal, prayerfully walking a few miles of the route each day and meeting with descendants of those who were deported. 

AMBS alumna Katerina Friesen (MDiv 2016) and local historian and educator Rich H. Meyer — who will co-lead the pilgrimage with George Godfrey (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), president of the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association — worked together to bring the exhibit to the seminary in connection with the pilgrimage. Artist SaeJin Lee contributed her skills in arranging and hanging the portraits.

“I see the exhibit as an opportunity for the AMBS community and the local community to continue building relationships with the Indigenous people of this region,” Friesen said.

Visiting the exhibit

This exhibit and two associated events are free and open to the public.

Members of the public are welcome to visit the self-guided exhibit during the times noted below.

  • May 12 – June 12: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 pm. Monday–Friday (AMBS’s normal business hours) (except May 29, Memorial Day)
  • Thursday, May 18: 4:30–8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 31: 4:30–8:30 p.m.
  • Other hours by appointment only.

The exhibit begins in the AMBS library gallery, which is most directly accessed via the entrance under the tower. (Follow the campus signage to the library.) After viewing the portraits in the library gallery, visitors should pass through the double doors to the right, go past the Church Leadership Center and lounge, and then turn right to enter the north hallway of Waltner Hall. The portraits continue in this north hallway and around the corner in the main hallway of Waltner, extending past the receptionist’s desk.

See this map for details.

See this guide to the exhibit (large PDF file — depending on your connection, it could take more time to display or download).

Events on Wednesday, May 31, in the AMBS lounge:

  • 3–4 p.m.: The Trail of Death Pilgrimage class will host an artist’s reception for Sharon Hoogstraten.
  • 7–9 p.m.: Sharon Hoogstraten will give a presentation about the stories behind the photographs, and George Godfrey will perform a monologue he wrote, "The Woods' Cry," based on his ancestors’ experiences on the Trail of Death

—AMBS Communications staff

See also: ambs.edu/academics/trail-of-death


Photos

Fourth-graders from Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Indiana, visited the campus of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart in April to view an exhibit of 22 nearly life-sized images of modern-day Potawatomi Indians in their regalia by Sharon Hoogstraten, visual storyteller, photographer and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The exhibit is on display at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), 3003 Benham Avenue, until June 12. See an associated story about the fourth-graders’ involvement with the Potawatomi Trail of Death.

Sharon Hoogstraten, visual storyteller, photographer and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, poses with one of her nearly life-sized images of modern-day Potawatomi Indians in their regalia. The exhibit of 22 images is on display at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), 3003 Benham Avenue, until June 12.


Abbreviated announcements

Exhibit: Dancing for My Tribe: Photos of Potawatomi Regalia in the New Millennium: May 12 – June 12 at AMBS. An exhibit of 22 nearly life-size photographic portraits of contemporary Potawatomi Indians in regalia is on display at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), 3003 Benham Avenue. The portraits by photographer Sharon Hoogstraten (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) are accompanied by the subjects’ handwritten personal narrative of their regalia. The public is invited to tour the free, self-guided exhibit during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mon–Fri, except Memorial Day); and from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 31. (Other hours by appointment only.) The exhibit begins in the AMBS library gallery (use the tower entrance). Also on May 31, Hoogstraten will be at AMBS for an artist’s reception in the lounge (3–4 p.m.) and a presentation (7–9 p.m.). These events are free and open to the public. Learn more.

The Trail of Death: A Pilgrimage of Remembrance, Lament and Transformation: June 19, 2017. A summer course of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana. This nine-day pilgrimage traces the route of the 1838 forced removal of Potawatomi people by the U.S. military from their ancestral homeland in northern Indiana to present-day Osawatomie, Kansas. Pilgrims will remember the history of this expulsion through reading journals from the removal, prayerfully walking a few miles of the route each day and meeting with descendants of those who were deported. Pilgrims will examine what it means to inhabit lands from which others were expelled, what priorities and theologies fueled that expulsion and what it means to seek God’s shalom in our moment and place in time. Leaders: Katerina Friesen, sessional instructor; George Godfrey (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), president of the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association; and Rich Meyer, historian and educator. This course can be taken for credit or audit. Sign up by May 15. See: ambs.edu/academics/trail-of-death