• Charlottesville Sacagewea sculpture

    Monumental Meanings: Indigenous Perspectives on Monuments

    Figure of Sacagewea in the 1919 Charles Keck sculpture in downtown Charlottesville: Panelists noted while in public depictions, Sacagewea is depicted as a subservient drudge.  Her true role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition was one of leadership and expertise, and she was central to the expedition's ability to navigate and survive the trek across the continent.

  • Source: image from UVA Today

    Universities, Slavery, Public Memory and the Built Landscape

    The symposium, “Universities, Slavery, Public Memory and the Built Landscape,” is the second major event of the University’s bicentennial commemoration. (Photos by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

  • Digital Heritage Technologies with Professor Andrew Johnston

    Associate professor Andrew Johnston and director of the University Of Virginia School Of Architecture’s Historic Preservation Program, emphasized the immense power of modern technology in relation to studying heritage and cultural landscapes.

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Spotlight on Cultural Landscapes

Monumental Meanings: Indigenous Perspectives on Monuments

On the evening of November 14, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection and the UVA Native American Student Union (NASU) hosted a remarkable panel discussion entitled “Monumental Meanings: Indigenous Perspectives on Monuments.” 

Kasey Keeler, Native American Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Studies Program, moderated the discussion, and briefly described her research, which deploys federal Indian policy, housing policy, land, property, suburbanization, place making, public memory and public history to explore suburbs as spaces of continuous American Indian presence. 

Panelist Karenne Wood is a member of the Monacan Indian Nation and director of the Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Foundation for Humanities.  Her presentation focused on native modes of marking spaces of significance, and how those traditions differ from European modes of memorialization.  She argued that indigenous commemorative forms are communal rather than singular or heroic, and that constructions like burial mounds serve as multi-dimensional symbols, reinforcing both the communal aspects of tribal life, and the physical and spiritual connections between the human body and the land.  Wood also highlighted the numerous instances of desecration, destruction, and conscious raiding of native sacred sites in Virginia by European farmers and notable figures like Thomas Jefferson.  While these purposeful erasures have led to a myth that native people are a relic of the past, Wood concluded with stressing the importance of interpreting Native presence into the present, that Monacans and other Virginia tribes are still here, still an active part of the social fabric of Virginia.

Jeffrey Hantman is a professor in the UVA department of Anthropology, and his presentation focused on his efforts with Karenne Wood and other American Indian collaborators to write new texts for the Virginia Historical Highway Markers Program.  He spoke of a path to sanctification of sites associated with state violence and injustices perpetrated against native peoples, and that highway markers can be a first step toward recognition of these difficult histories. 

Upcoming Events

Hanbury Evans Endowed Lecture in Historic Preservation: Caitlin DeSilvey

Monday, April 9, 2018 - 5:00pm

The 2018 Hanbury Evans Endowed Lecture in Historic Preservation will be delivered by Caitlin DeSilvey, Associate Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter. The lecture title is Curated Decay: Subtle Ambush or Slippery Slope?