Professor Nancy Marie Mithlo’s New Book, “Making History IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts” Released

Congratulations to Professor Nancy Marie Mithlo who just recently released a new book, “Making History IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts” (UNM Press)!

For Immediate Release
Contact: Eric Davis, Marketing & Communications Director
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Institute of American Indian Arts
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Announces the Release of
Making History: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Published by the University of New Mexico Press
Santa Fe, New Mexico: October 21, 2020
Making History: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (2020) is the inaugural collaboration between IAIA and the University of New Mexico Press. Established in 1929, the University of New Mexico Press is the fourth largest university press west of the Rocky Mountains. Elise M. McHugh, UNM Press Sr. Acquisitions Editor, describes the publication of Making History as “an exciting first.”


Making History exposes the central role of the Institute of American Indian Arts as an epicenter of the dynamic and under-studied contemporary Native Arts movement (1962 to present). This unique resource not only guides educators and the public in how to interpret key interpretative American Indian art themes such as the body, dance, and visual icons using Indigenous methodologies, it also charts contemporary Native arts origins, drawing from the wisdom of our elders, artists, poets and educators.
Bill Soza War Soldier (Cahuilla/White Mountain Apache)
Self-Portrait, 1968, oil on canvas, 21 in x 21 in.,
MoCNA Collection MS-22 (Photo by Addison Doty)
The decolonizing frameworks employed in this primary resource replace prior outdated descriptive and celebratory publications originating from outside Native communities. Making History situates the power of testimony, presence, place, and knowledge, as defined by the Institute of American Indian Arts, the only tribal college in the nation devoted to the arts whose collections reflect the full tribal diversity of Turtle Island. These essays written by senior Native arts scholars present a best-practices approach to understanding Indigenous art from a Native-centric point of view. Topics include biography, pedagogy, philosophy, poetry, coding, arts critique, curation, teaching and researching Indigenous art.


From the foreword by IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee): “Osiyo! IAIA, established in 1962, is celebrating its fifty-eighth year as the birthplace of contemporary Native art. It is at IAIA where Native students take pride in their heritage while their artistic creativity is nurtured and encouraged to flower. We are pleased to participate in the creation of this publication, a groundbreaking contribution to the field of contemporary Native art.”


Making History: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts features poetry by Alex Jacobs (Mohawk) and Elizabeth Woody (Navajo/Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama) — and original essays by David Wade Chambers, Charles A. Dailey, Lara M. Evans (Cherokee), Stephen C. Fadden (Mohawk), Ryan S. Flahive, Suzanne Newman Fricke, Alex Jacobs (Mohawk), Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer (Hopi/Choctaw), Robert Martin (Cherokee), Nancy Marie Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache), Patsy Phillips (Cherokee), John Paul Rangel (Mestizo: Apache/Navajo/Spanish descent), Jessie Ryker-Crawford (White Earth Chippewa) and David Warren (Santa Clara Pueblo). This valuable resource contains two-hundred works of art, many that have never been photographed or circulated prior, and twenty-four archival photographs from IAIA’s nearly sixty-year history.


Making History is dedicated to the memory of IAIA Professor Emeritus Charles A. Dailey (1935-2019).


IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) Director Patsy Phillips (Cherokee) remarks that, “Making History is a labor of love. A team of established educators and artists associated with IAIA as alumni, faculty, and staff devoted eight years of planning to ensure this resource met the needs of our Native students while serving as a best practices model for educators and the public to better understand the context and centrality of Native arts, especially as they originate at IAIA. In Making History you’ll learn about selected art and artists from our over 9,000 works in our collection (the largest contemporary native arts collection in the nation) and the stories behind them. We are grateful to the editor and all the writers who volunteered their time to write this important publication.”
Making History was edited by Nancy Marie Mithlo, Ph.D., UCLA Professor of Gender Studies and affiliated faculty with the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program. As a former IAIA student, researcher, and museum director, Professor Mithlo has devoted over thirty years of her professional career to highlighting the importance of the IAIA as a major hub of Native creativity. Mithlo’s dissertation archives (Stanford University, cultural anthropology, 1993) are accessioned with the IAIA Library archives.
Making History: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts is available now at the MoCNA store in Santa Fe and will be available online soon at:
Press Note:
When referring to the Museum in any and all press,
please use the full official name:
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
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