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MAINTAINING INDIGENOUS IDENTITY THROUGH CULTURAL EXCHANGE



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Caro Mario A Persistent Encounters Maintaining Indigenous Identity through Cultural Exchange In Hit emlkiliiksix Within the Circle of the Rim Nations Gathering on Common Ground Eds Mario A Caro Laura Grabhorn Tina Kuckkahn and Ann McCormack Seattle Hemlock Press 2002 PERSISTENT ENCOUNTERS MAINTAINING INDIGENOUS IDENTITY THROUGH CULTURAL EXCHANGE 1 Mario A Caro The works featured in this exhibition are the result of a singular event asta bsHil3b axW ti qa qtu The Return to the Swing a gathering of native artists from the Pacific Rim that took place in June of 2001 at the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center in Olympia Washington 2 This historical event was the product of the visionary imagination of the planners it was also an event that resulted from connections that have been established and reinforced through millennia of cultural exchange among native peoples There were no accounts of discovery in the stories shared at the gathering That paradigm so prevalent in the history of the West s engagement with indigenous cultures disavows the continuous existence and viability of other cultures The histories the participants exchanged included instead accounts of encounters that acknowledge the persistence of other cultures These accounts tell of longterm interactions that have resulted in the adaptation transformation and at times the violent demise of other cultures It is within this paradigm of encounter one that is mindful of protocols of hospitality and respect that stories were told artistic techniques were traded songs were shared and dances performed Although there was no explicit agenda for the gathering certain themes emerged as being timely topics for discussion The thematic structure for the exhibition is based on issues that were expressed during interviews at public presentations and during casual exchanges in the studios I have put these issues into four sections that are meant to join the works into coherent groupings The first sections addresses



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