January 14, 2012

Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum

While I have gone to their annual Powwow many times, I've always missed out on my chances to visit the Shinnecock Nation Culural Center and Museum. Last weekend, I decided to take a ride out to the reservation to see the log cabin-like building that opened its doors back in 2001. Upon stepping through the foyer, I was impressed by the high wooden ceiling that is adorned with woodland animals, wrought iron lamps, and native banners. On the museum's upper level, a self-guided tour invites guests to take a "walk with the people" who have been dwelling on Long Island for over 10,000 years. Through a series of vivid murals and artifacts displays (including dugout canoes, woven baskets, clothing, pottery, and arrowheads), the history of these Algonquin descendants plays out from their nomadic beginnings in the Paleo-Indian Period (7000 BC), to their discoveries of early agriculture during the Woodland Period (3500 BC - 1600 AD), and through their first contacts with European settlers (circa 1600 AD) to the present. It offers a marvelous and in depth glimpse into Shinnecock ancestry.

On the lower level of the museum, one finds a permanent exhibit called My Spirit Dances Forever, which consists of a series of bronze sculptures done by western artist Dave McGary. These works of art are beautifully crafted and really capture the grace and dignity of the native people. I enjoyed these displays very much. Cheers!

"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength."

~Isaiah 30:15