‘This IS Kalapuyan Land!’ art exhibit to be held on OSU campus through mid-May

David G. Lewis talks with a group of students at the Little Gallery on the Oregon State University Corvallis, Ore. campus during the “This IS Kalapuyan Land” opening reception on April 21. The exhibition prompts critical thinking around representation of Indigenous history and identity in non-Indigenous institutions.

Kimberly Clairmont, News Contributor

Oregon State University community members are encouraged to attend the “This IS Kalapuyan Land!” exhibit and think critically about the representation of Indigenous history and identity in non-Indigenous institutions.

According to Helen Wilhelm, curator and director for The Little Gallery, “This is Kalapuyan Land!” originally opened as a physical museum exhibition in 2019 at the Five Oaks Museum in Portland, Ore. and as an online exhibition in 2020. 

Wilhelm said The Little Gallery’s opening event was located in 210 Kidder Hall with Dr. David Lewis and Chanti Mano-Ferguson on April 21 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., although “This IS Kalapuyan Land!” is a campus-wide exhibit that will run until May 20.

“‘This IS Kalapuyan Land!’ is a re-creation of a past exhibit with Native perspectives added,” Wilhelm said. “Additional significant histories are added into the timeline that help tell the story of Kalapuyan peoples based on events important to them.”

An artists’ panel with Steph Littlebird Fogel and Natalie Ball will be held on May 9 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws on OSU’s Corvallis campus. 

“Guest curator, Steph Littlebird Fogel—Grand Ronde, Kalapuya—annotated panels from the museum’s prior exhibit on Kalapuyan peoples, curated contemporary Native artwork and historical objects into the exhibitions, and added historical content from Lewis—Chinook, Santiam, Takelma, Grand Ronde,” Wilhelm said. 

Fogel, the Five Oaks Museum’s first guest curator, said in her artist bio that her unique role allowed her to reframe the preexisting exhibition on the Kalapuyan people of Oregon.

“As a lifelong Oregon resident and descendant of the Kalapuyan people, I grew up in a state that exalted pioneer and Oregon Trail mythology,” Fogel said. “The preexisting exhibition, created over 15 years ago, was riddled with errors, erasures, stereotypes, and scientific misinformation.”

Fogel added that, because she is not a historian, she was lucky enough to collaborate with Lewis, a tribal scholar and Grand Ronde Confederation member. 

“With his generous assistance and online collection of academic articles, I eliminated inaccuracies, and reframed biased narratives,” Fogel said. “By introducing artwork made by living Native creators I could demonstrate the vibrancy and abundance of Indigenous culture that thrives today.”