What’s old is new: How to do your Na­tive do

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media - — Jen­nifer Levin

In Fe­bru­ary 2014, an ex­hibit called Na­tive Amer­i­can Por­traits: Points of In­quiry, fea­tur­ing dozens of por­traits of Na­tive peo­ples from all over the United States, opened at the Mu­seum of In­dian Arts & Cul­ture. The pho­tos, taken by a wide va­ri­ety of pho­tog­ra­phers, date from the mid-1800s; there is also a group of con­tem­po­rary images from Na­tive pho­tog­ra­phers. The show was cu­rated by Diane Bird, the mu­seum’s ar­chiv­ist. Among the feed­back she has re­ceived about the ex­hibit are nu­mer­ous ques­tions about the hair­styles worn by the peo­ple in the pic­tures. Vis­i­tors to the mu­seum have wanted to know if the hair­styles are still popular and if they have cer­e­mo­nial sig­nif­i­cance. Mu­seum em­ploy­ees have talked about who in their fam­ily wore, or knew how to cre­ate, cer­tain styles — some of which, such as the “Hopi maiden but­ter­fly whorl,” take train­ing and a deft hand. In re­sponse, MIAC is host­ing Na­tive Amer­i­can Hair­styles: His­toric and Con­tem­po­rary, on Satur­day, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s an old­fash­ioned hair show, with demon­stra­tions of how to make the but­ter­fly whorl, the Navajo woman’s bun, the Navajo man’s bun, the Pueblo woman’s bun, and other Na­tive styles of braids, bangs, and hair ac­ces­sories. Vis­i­tors’ ques­tions are wel­come through­out. After the demon­stra­tions, the mod­els will pa­rade all the styles dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion in the mu­seum’s theater. Stylists and mod­els are from the Zia, Santa Clara, and Je­mez pueb­los as well as the Hopi, Navajo, and Pawnee na­tions. Though the hair­styles are tra­di­tional and date back cen­turies, most of them are still in use — some for every­day wear and some for cer­e­monies and dances. En­trance is by mu­seum ad­mis­sion. MIAC is on Mu­seum Hill at 710 Camino Lejo; call 505-476-1250.

Pa­tri­cio Cal­abasa, Santo Domingo Pueblo, circa 1927, photo T. Har­mon Parkhurst; cour­tesy Palace of the Gover­nors Photo Ar­chives (NMHM/DCA), Neg­a­tive No. 46763

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