Seminar: In Dialogue with Native Identities and Representations

April 24, 2016 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Edward Sheriff Curtis, A Gray Day in the Bad Lands, 1905
Edward Sheriff Curtis (American, 1868–1952), A Gray Day in the Bad Lands, 1905, plate 86 from the portfolio The North American Indian, volume 9, photogravure, gift of Henrietta E. Failing.


From rock art to computer-generated art, how do we identify what is Native and what is not? Have we increased our voice or been lost in the world around us? Is Native art relevant? What can we learn from its historical aspects for application to today’s issues? Can Natives control the narrative?

We encourage you to visit the Clark County Historical Museum exhibition One November Morning in preparation for this seminar.

Roben White is Cheyenne/Lakota and enrolled Oglala Pine Ridge. Roben has varied experience as a labor leader and community, Native, ecological, and food systems activist/organizer. He has a business background including International Business and is politically active. He is currently reviving his life as an artist after a several decade hiatus.

In Dialogue is a new occasional series of interdisciplinary, discussion-based seminars that explore art on view at the Museum in relation to works in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Contemporary Native Photographers and the Edward Curtis Legacy stages a conversation through images. The exhibition juxtaposes Curtis’ monumental, romanticized record of tribal lives 100 years ago with the work of twenty-first-century Native artists who challenge popular myths of the “noble savage” and the “vanishing race.” Taken together, these works raise critical questions about the portrayal of Native American experiences over the last century. The In Dialogue series of small-group, discussion-based seminars invites you to join in the conversation as we explore Native identities and representations through topics in literature and film, education and citizenship, law and sovereignty, and environmental justice.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Cost per session: $10 Members/$19.99 non-member. Educator and student discount available.

The series is co-sponsored by Portland State University-University Studies.

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The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.