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The Memories We Carry with Us
The Memories We Carry with Us

The Memories We Carry with Us

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Memories We Carry with Us was curated by CSWS Intern Alysha Arrates (Ute Mountain Ute), a sophomore at FLC studying Native American and Indigenous Studies and Museum Management. The installation combines photographs and clippings from the Center's archives with creative works and personal items from Indigenous students currently attending Fort Lewis College. Arrates hopes that others can feel inspired by this display, which pays homage to the thriving Indigenous students at Fort Lewis College. The exhibition will be on display through November 2024.

 

CURATORIAL STATEMENT

What did student life entail for Indigenous students at Fort Lewis College? When thinking about the historical context of schools for Indigenous people, there is a negative perception due to the legacy of Indian boarding schools like Fort Lewis. In October 2023, History Colorado and Fort Lewis College released an investigative report into the Fort Lewis Indian Boarding School that was in operation from 1892 to 1909. This report examined the harrowing truth of the abuses Indigenous children endured while attending the boarding school. As an Indigenous student myself, it is hard not to consider the dark shadow of this legacy when thinking about Indigenous students' experiences while attending Fort Lewis.

This inspired me to explore the archives of the Center of Southwest Studies to find documentation of Indigenous student life at Fort Lewis College. I have always been fascinated by photographs from the past, and while looking through these photos in the archives, it evoked the feeling of flipping through a family photo album. I wanted to create an interwoven display combining captured memories of former Indigenous students with the artistic expressions of today’s Indigenous students. This exhibit is important to me because I do not want to paint our past generations of Indigenous students only as victims, but rather as normal college students who experienced many of the same things we do as Indigenous students today. The Indigenous students of Fort Lewis were not simply surviving school, they were thriving. This exhibit is a celebration of those who came before us at Fort Lewis. The Indigenous students of Fort Lewis College embody community, their ancestors' dreams, and are the epitome of Indigenous futurity. Togwayak!

 

ABOUT THE CURATOR

Alysha Arrates (Ute Mountain Ute) was born in Cortez, CO and is a sophomore at Fort Lewis College studying Native American Indigenous Studies and Museum Management. She has a strong interest in history, cultural history preservation, and Indigenous rights and issues. Alysha is an intern at the Center of Southwest Studies focusing on collections care. 

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