IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas


IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

From the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture comes an important and enlightening exhibition about the intersection of American Indian and African American people and cultures. IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas explores historical and contemporary stories of peoples and communities whose shared histories are woven into the fabric of American identity but whose presence has long been invisible to many in the United States.

A bride and groom from the Seminole Nation in Florida, ca. 1895. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian.The exhibition sheds light on the dynamics of race, community, culture, and creativity and addresses the human desire to belong. With compelling text and powerful graphics, the exhibition includes accounts of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. Stories are set within the context of a larger society that, for centuries, has viewed people through the prism of race brought to the Western Hemisphere by European settlers.

By combining the voices of the living with those of their ancestors, the exhibition provides an extraordinary opportunity to understand the history and contemporary perspectives of people of African and Native American descent. 

Si a su organización le gustaría presentar una version de IndiVisible en español, por favor póngase en contacto con Karen Fort.



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Exhibition specifications


20 large-scale, freestanding color banners with text and graphics


Companion book, 10-minute DVD (venue provides equipment), educational website, educational and promotional resources, speaker list, bibliography

Participation Fee

$2,400 per 10-week booking period


200 running feet,est.


5 crates


1,131 pounds

Category History & Culture
Security Limited
Shipping Outgoing
SITES Contacts Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142 (Scheduling)
Kathrin Halpern, 202.633.3109 (Content/Design)
Tour Through 2016
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Tour itinerary

Opening Closing Host Institution Status
11/10/09- 05/30/10 Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC Booked
01/30/10- 03/28/10 Broward County Library, Fort Lauderdale, FL Booked
04/17/10- 06/13/10 Chieftains Museum, Rome, GA Booked
07/01/10- 07/31/10 Biennial of the Americas, Wellington E. Webb Building, Denver, CO Booked
09/18/10- 11/28/10 New Mexico State University Museum, Las Cruces, NM Booked
12/18/10- 02/27/11 Aurora University, Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora, IL Booked
03/19/11- 05/15/11 California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA Booked
06/04/11- 07/31/11 Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery, AL Booked
08/20/11- 10/16/11 Northwest African American Museum, Seattle, WA Booked
11/05/11- 12/30/11 Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History, Baltimore, MD Booked
04/07/12- 06/03/12 Sunwatch Indian Villiage, Dayton, OH Booked
06/23/12- 08/19/12 Museum of Regional History, Texarkana Museum Systems, Texarkana, TX Booked
09/15/12- 11/25/12 Institute of Texan Cultures,
San Antonio, TX
01/09/13- 01/31/13 University of Michigan Museum of Natural History,
Ann Arbor, MI
02/16/13- 05/06/13 Barton Art Gallery, Gault Fine Arts Center, Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, TN Booked
05/23/13- 08/04/13 Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, ME Booked
08/24/13- 10/20/13 Native American Studies Center, University of South Carolina, Lancaster, SC Booked
11/09/13- 01/05/14 Carroll Reece Museum,
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
01/25/14- 03/23/14 Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center,
New York, NY
05/17/14- 07/20/14 Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul, MN Booked
08/09/14-10/12/14 Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul, MN Booked
11/01/14- 01/04/15 Cross Cultural Center, University of California, Davis, CA
01/24/15- 04/05/15 Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, CA Booked
04/25/15- 07/05/15 Museum Center at 5ive Points, Cleveland, TN Booked
07/25/15- 10/04/15 Booked
10/24/15- 01/03/16 Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Roanoke, VA Booked
01/23/16- 03/05/16 Clovis Community College Center, Fresno, CA Booked

Related publications

IndiVisible: African-Native Lives in the Americas

Twenty-seven passionate essays explore the complex history and contemporary lives of people with a dual heritage that is a little-known part of American culture.

256 pages, 115 color
and black-and-white illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-58834-271-3

>> Ordering Information

IndiVisible: African-Native Lives in the Americas
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Press release

Media only: Jennifer Schommer (202) 633-3121
Media Web site:

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Exploring
African-Native American Identity Opens in Florida

The Broward County Library in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will open the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas” Jan. 1, 2010, focusing on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dual African American and Native American ancestry. Through the themes of policy, community, creative resistance and lifestyles, the exhibition tells stories of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. “IndiVisible,” produced by the National Museum of the American Indian in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), remains on view through March 28 and will then continue to travel to museums around the nation.

Since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, the lives of Native and African peoples have been closely intertwined. From pre-colonial times, they intermarried, established communities and shared their lives and traditions. But racially motivated laws oppressed and excluded them. Blended tribes worked to preserve their land and rebelled against displacement. Their survival strategies included involvement in social movements, joining together to fight oppressive conditions and regaining economic sustainability. Their unique African-Native American cultural practices through food, language, writing, music, dance and the visual arts have thrived.

“The topic of African-Native Americans is one that touches a great number of individuals through family histories, tribal histories and personal identities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee) director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide, alienation from our ancestral homelands, and the exhibition acknowledges the strength and resilience we recognize in one another today.”

“We are proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition,” said Lonnie Bunch director of African American History and culture. “African American oral tradition is full of stories about ‘Black Indians,’ with many black families claiming Indian blood.”

The exhibition was curated by leading scholars, educators and community leaders including Gabrielle Tayac, (Piscataway), Robert Keith Collins, (African-Choctaw descent), Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Judy Kertèsz, Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag) and Thunder Williams (Afro-Carib).
African-Native Americans from across North America who shared their perspectives in a 10 minute video in the exhibition.

The accompanying exhibition book, “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas,” edited by Tayac, features 27 essays from authors across the hemisphere sharing first-person accounts of struggle, adaptation and survival and examines such diverse subjects as contemporary art, the Cherokee Freedmen issue and the evolution of jazz and blues. The richly illustrated 256-page book is available online at

An online version of the exhibition is available at

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Akaloa Resource Foundation and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an act of Congress in 2003, and will be erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Currently, during the pre-building phase, the museum is presenting exhibitions, producing publications, hosting public events and offering an array of interactive programs and educational resources at the museum on the Web at

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at
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Exhibition Specifications

Tour Itinerary

Exhibition Prospectus

Related Publications

Press Release

Video Snippet

IndiVisible WEBSITE

IndiVisible BLOG

Spanish Script


If you like this exhibition, you might also like:

Mail Call

Roots of Wisdom

Ramp it Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America (Archives)

Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight (Archives)

More Exhibitions from SITES


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