If you want to see the Cherokee Booger Dance Mask, a whimsical Native American mask from the early 1900s, you still have to travel to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Traveling Exhibitions with priceless artifacts need a whole lot of museum security in order to travel.
If, however, you want to immerse yourself in stories from four Native American communities with an eye toward learning how this traditional knowledge pairs with today’s world, you just have to go to the Farragut Museum at Farragut Town Hall.
The Smithsonian’s exhibition “Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science” has taken up residence at the museum through Aug. 27. A series of panels tells stories from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Tulalip Tribes, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and the Native Hawaiians. These four communities are taking their native community wisdom and applying that knowledge to solving ecological and health challenges they face today. Each panel tells of traditions and new awakenings. The Cherokee, for example, are translating ages-old respect and reverence for rivers and their gifts by working with scientists to restore river cane in the Cherokee homeland and then revitalizing traditional crafts using that cane, such as basket making.
“Roots of Wisdom” was developed and produced by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Admission to the exhibit and the Farragut Museum collection is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.