Wasington, D.C., Aug 19 (Canadian-Media): Library of Congress (LOC) will present this fall a series of four gallery talks in the exhibit “Exploring the Early Americas," focusing on the everyday lives of the indigenous people of the ancient Americas and the newly developing connection between archaeology and neuroscience, media reports said.
Starting in September, lectures will be held monthly through December on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the gallery of the exhibition on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E. The talks are free and open to the public. The series will be presented by John Hessler, curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of Archaeology of the Early Americas.
Considering the limited information that has survived in the archaeological record, Hessler will look at the challenges of understanding the daily lives of the pre-Columbian peoples of the Taino, Inca, Nahua and the Maya.
Using artifacts from the collections of the Library of Congress, Hessler will discuss what utilitarian objects say about these cultures as they went about their daily routines, and highlight how these ancient people engaged both physically and mentally with the natural and social worlds they inhabited.
Hessler, who also is a university lecturer, teaching cognitive archaeology and neuroscience, will also discuss how our historical immersion in a world of objects has shaped our perceptions of living.
Additionally, he will expand on what the new research in neuroscience is telling us about how our day-to-day engagement with things deeply informs how we think and perceive the world around us.
Gallery Talks Schedule
Located in the Exploring the Americas Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 1 p.m.
Of Stones and Feathers: Everyday Lives of the Inca
The Incas were originally a small tribe in the southern highlands of Peru. In less than a century, during the 1400s, they built one of the largest, most tightly controlled empires the world has ever known. Hessler will discuss select artifacts, from both the Inca and Wari cultures, focusing on the textiles in the collection and how they illuminate the daily lives of the people of South America before European contact.
First Contact: Everyday Lives of the Taíno
The Taíno were the most numerous indigenous people of the Caribbean at the time of first European contact. In the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, Hispaniola (which today is made up of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Puerto Rico. Hessler will discuss the Taíno’s complex religious, political and social systems, and how their arts inform what we know about their everyday lives.
The Feel of Jade: Everyday Lives of the Maya
The richest source of pre-Columbian historical information comes from the ancient Maya, who developed the most sophisticated writing system in the Americas. Hessler will discuss select artifacts on the Maya relationship with plants and how their complex system of ethnobotany illuminates their daily interaction with the jungle environment in which they lived.
Deciphering Nature: Everyday Lives of the Nahua
The Nahua, also known as the Aztecs, had a complex metaphysical system of thought that informed everyday activities like weaving, farming and food preparation. Hessler will discuss select artifacts in the collection that illuminate the philosophy of the Nahua and show how it entered into the symbolism found in domestic work and crafts.
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Pimachiowin Aki on Ontario-Manitoba border is traditional land of 4 First Nations
An expanse of boreal shield straddling the Ontario-Manitoba border will be Canada's first mixed cultural and natural World Heritage Site, according to an announcement Sunday.
The decision was announced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Manama, Bahrain.
Pimachiowin Aki is nearly 30,000 sq. km. of boreal forest that encompasses the traditional lands of four Anishinaabe First Nations as well as Atikaki and South Atikaki Provincial Parks in Manitoba, Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and the Eagle–Snowshoe Conservation Reserve in Ontario.
In Anishinaabemowin, Pimachiowin Aki translates to "the land that gives life.""When I was growing up, my grandfather used to visit quite often and would tell me stories about how important the land was for the First Nations people within the area," said William Young, co-chair of the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, a multi-jurisdictional group made up of representatives from the four First Nations and the two provincial governments.
Young grew up on the land and has lived the majority of his life in his community of Bloodvein River in Manitoba. He said it's wonderful to know that his grandfather's legacy will be kept alive.
"This is very important to me, not only for my grandfather but the grandfathers before that. It also means that we're going to be able to manage and protect our traditional areas, not just for the First Nations, but for the whole world."
William Young, co-chair of the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, grew up on the land and has remained there for the majority of his life in his community of Bloodvein River. (Submitted by Pimachiowin Aki Corporation )
Canada currently has eight cultural and 10 natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Pimachiowin Aki would be the country's first mixed site, acknowledged for both its cultural and natural significance.
The four Anishinaabe First Nations — Bloodvein River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Poplar River — in partnership with the Ontario and Manitoba provincial governments, have been working for 16 years to get the area designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is their third nomination before the UNESCO committee.
"We believe that what we have is very beautiful and it's still very culturally vibrant," said Sophia Rabliauskas, a Pimachiowin Aki spokesperson from Poplar River First Nation.
"The beautiful part about this whole area is how the people still use the land and water like they did thousands of years ago. We are willing to share it with the rest of the world."
Being designated as a World Heritage Site means that the area has been acknowledged by UNESCO as having significant cultural and natural value to the world, deserving conservation.
"This is pristine land, and to know that that land will be maintained in perpetuity the way it always has been is an incredible initiative," said Manitoba's minister of sustainable development, Rochelle Squires.
"It's a great day for Manitoba to know that this land is going to be protected for centuries to come."
The Manitoba government spent more than $15 million over the past 13 years to support the bid.
Key programming that will be implemented with the designation includes safeguarding cultural heritage, conserving and understanding ecosystems and species, supporting sustainable economic and community-based initiatives and developing an educational curriculum that is relevant to the communities, incorporating traditional teachings and land-based practices for local schools.