Film Premiere Event with Panel Discussion Will Explore Indigenous People and Other Cultural Legacies on Columbus Day
PHILADELPHIA, SEPT. 19, 2017 — The United States of America has an exceptionally diverse heritage, but the roles of many of its multiethnic ancestors have often been misrepresented in—or altogether excluded from—the telling of our nation’s history.
On Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 9, which has recently gained momentum as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Museum of the American Revolution will host an evening film premiere event and panel discussion, in partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation, that will explore how history is often oversimplified to remove nuance or omit inconvenient truths.
“The Museum of the American Revolution gives voice to the lesser-known people of our nation’s founding and explores the stories that have often gone untold,” said Museum President and CEO Michael Quinn. “History is rarely simple and it is a disservice to all of us to gloss over the pieces that don’t fit in with a desired narrative. We invite visitors to wrestle with those complexities in our nation’s history, many of which are still present today.”
At 6 p.m. the Museum will present a special showing of “People of the Standing Stone,” a 25-minute film narrated by Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner and directed by award-winning documentarian Ric Burns. The documentary traces the history of the Oneida Nation and how it stood in solidarity with General George Washington to help America forge its independence during the Revolutionary War. The film also explores how, despite that history, the Oneida people’s land was slowly appropriated by the federal government and European settlers.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion entitled “Our Shared History: Lifting Up Lesser Known Stories of our Nation’s Founding.” Panelists include Kevin Gover, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian; Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative, Nation Enterprises CEO, and a Museum Board Member; and Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, the Museum’s Vice President of Collections, Exhibitions and Programming. It will be moderated by Sara Lomax-Reese, President and CEO of WURD 900-AM.
“In an increasingly diverse country, it is more critical than ever for people today and future generations to learn about and appreciate America’s multicultural roots and history,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter. “The Oneida Nation is pleased to partner with the Museum of the American Revolution to present our people’s role in the founding of America with this film premiere, especially on a day that so often omits Indigenous People altogether.”
Tickets to the screening and discussion are $15 for general admission, $5 for Museum members and students (must show ID on site), and can be purchased here. The Museum’s exhibits will remain open until 6 p.m. A printed gallery guide highlighting Native American artifacts and exhibits throughout the Museum will be available.
On Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. and 2p.m., and Monday, Oct. 9 at 11 a.m., Darren Bonaparte, a member of the Mohawk community of Ahkwesáhsne, will perform Wampum Chronicles, a colorful presentation on Native American history and culture in which he employs more than two dozen replica wampum belts and strings in addition to clothing and items specific to the colonial era. The presentation will take place in the Museum’s Patriots Gallery.
On Monday, Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., dancers from the Oneida Indian Nation will perform traditional Haudenosaunee social dances, incorporating drumbeats and chants, in authentic dress in the Museum’s Patriots Gallery.
In the Museum’s exhibits, visitors will explore the personal stories of the diverse range of individuals who were part of establishing our nation, including women, native people, and free and enslaved people of African descent. Visitors will expand their understanding of the “founding generation” as they listen as members of the Oneida Indian Nation debate whether to support the Revolutionary cause in an immersive multimedia gallery; climb aboard a privateer ship like the one on which James Forten, a free 14-year-old free African American boy, volunteered; and examine artifacts including child-sized slave shackles, an intricately carved woman’s busk (corset piece), and a signed 1773 volume “Poems on Various Subjects” by Phillis Wheatley, America’s first published black female poet.
About Kevin Gover
Kevin Gover is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Gover served as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton where he won praise for his efforts to rebuild long-neglected Indian schools and expand tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs police forces throughout the country. His tenure as Assistant Secretary is perhaps best-known for his apology to Native American people for the historical conduct of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After leaving office in 2000, Gover practiced law at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington. In 2003, he joined the faculty at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and served on the faculty of the university’s Indian Legal Program, one of the largest such programs in the country.
About Ray Halbritter
Ray Halbritter is the Nation Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and the Chief Executive Officer of its enterprises, leading the Oneida people to an economic and cultural renaissance that has been hailed as a national model of success. With Halbritter at the helm, the Oneida Nation became the first American Indian government in 1979 to offer gaming operations on sovereign land — one of many prescient moves that positioned the Oneida people to build what would become a world-class entertainment and gaming facility in the heart of the Northeast. Halbritter has instilled in the Oneida’s business enterprises a sense of cultural investment, making sure that revenues are invested in health care, schools and services for Oneida members, as well as in institutions that will help protect the Oneida’s heritage. The Oneida Nation donated $10 million to the Museum in 2012.
About Rosalyn J. McPherson
Rosalyn McPherson is President and Founder of The ROZ Group, which provides strategic marketing and communications, fundraising consulting, project management, and product development to corporations, governmental agencies, and non-profit institutions. Healthcare, social services, education, healthcare disparities, science and history are among her key areas. The firm is known for facilitating strategic planning dialogs and public discourse. Prior to launching her firm more than 10 years ago, McPherson served as Senior Vice President for the Science Center at the Franklin Institute. In this role she had day-to-day responsibility for increasing attendance and managing the visitor experience aspects of the museum’s operation that included exhibit development, retail, IMAX theater, and the Fels Planetarium. Most recently, McPherson served as President & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia.
About Dr. R. Scott Stephenson
Dr. R. Scott Stephenson holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His broad public history experience includes work as a curator, interpreter, scriptwriter, and historical and visual consultant. He has developed and collaborated on exhibits, films and interpretive programs for numerous historical sites and organizations including Colonial Williamsburg, the Smithsonian, the Canadian War Museum, the National Park Service, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Heinz History Center, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. He has served on the board of Fort Ticonderoga, and is presently a member of the advisory board to Colonial Williamsburg’s American Indian Initiative. Since 2007, Stephenson has overseen the care of the Museum of the American Revolution’s collections, and the development of its exhibitions and programming.
About Sara Lomax-Reese
Sara Lomax-Reese is the President and CEO of WURD Radio, LLC, Pennsylvania’s only African-American owned talk radio station. She is credited with transforming WURD from a struggling legacy talk radio station to a multi-media, multi-platform communications company providing cutting-edge original programming on air, online, and through community events. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Lomax-Reese has written for The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Essence Magazine. Most recently, she has contributed to a book of essays, “Our Black Sons Matter.” In 2010, she was selected for the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Women of Distinction” award, and in 2012, she received the PECO “Power to the Community” award. Lomax-Reese sits on a variety of boards including the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
About the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, Carpenters’ Hall, and Franklin Court, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776