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Museum of Anthropology presents alternative view of Native Americans

May 03, 2011

The Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology, in collaboration with the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, presents ALTERNATIVE, a multi-media artistic exploration of the general public’s generic perception of Native Americans. The exhibit examines the foundation of these perceptions, which have been constructed over hundreds of years by Euro-American society’s popular opinion and homogenization of indigenous cultures.   

The artist, Jacob Meders, has included video performance, traditional printmaking, handmade book forms, sculptures, paintings and 19th-century photo processes to create alternative scenarios in history and to challenge the Western perspective that has altered the identity of the contemporary Native American. Meders – a descendent of the Mechoopda tribe of what is now northern California – believes the individual perspective is linked to the framework of identity and uses his own ethnic connection to his ancestors as a means of identification.

Meders’ work reexamines the history of the conquest of the North America continent and dominance of its original inhabitants, which he believes is founded on unbalanced views and opinions used to justify the oppression of indigenous people. Meders credits society’s failure to recognize this injustice with prolonging the negative effects created for Native Americans. This is Meders’ master of fine arts thesis exhibition for the School of Art; its socio-cultural context lends itself well to display in the ASU Museum of Anthropology.

The exhibit runs through July 29. Admission is free. The ASU Museum of Anthropology is located in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at the northwest corner of Tyler and Cady Malls on the Tempe campus. It is open every weekday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. until May 9. It will be open by appointment only during the summer.  

Fore more information on ALTERNATIVE or the museum, visit or call 480-965-6224.

Peter Banko,
ASU Museum of Anthropology