Held on the occasion of the groundbreaking exhibition IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, this symposium aimed to bring visibility to African-Native American lives and initiate a healing dialogue on African-Native American experiences for people of all backgrounds. The program took place before a lively, standing-room-only audience on November 13, 2009, in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmuson Theater in Washington, D.C. The scholarly forum expanded and enhanced the exhibition’s compelling themes of race and policy, creative resistance, blended communities, and African-Native lifeways. In illuminating the relationships between African Americans and Native Americans that developed over centuries, the symposium offered a vital new understanding of how these life experiences have become an essential part of our American identity.

The Museum extends a special thank you to our participating partners for the symposium, The Links, Incorporated, Eastern Area, and the Capital City Chapter.

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas


Rex M. Ellis
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Welcoming Remarks

Reverend Amitiyah Elayne Hyman
Presbyterian Church (USA), retired
Opening Prayer

Kevin Gover (Pawnee), Moderator
Director, National Museum of the American Indian

Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag)
Executive director, Ohke Cultural Network, Inc.
In the Spirit of the Ancestors

Robert Keith Collins (African and Choctaw descent)
San Francisco State University
The Dynamics of Common Unity between Africans and Native Americans: Evidence from African-Native American Narratives

Angela A. Gonzales (Hopi)
Cornell University
Racial Demarcation in the U.S.: Ideology, Public Policy, and the (Trans)Formation of “Black” and “Indian” Identity

Judy Kertész
North Carolina State University
“And Mustee Is My Nation”: Reflections on Narrating Contestable Identities

Tiya Miles
University of Michigan
“One of the Longest Unwritten Chapters”: The Interrelated Histories of African Americans and Native Americans

Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway)
Historian, National Museum of the American Indian
IndiVisible: Many Hands, Many Voices

Question & Answer Session