'All My Relations: A Seneca History' Opens Sept. 27

  • Rosy Simas "We Wait in the Darkness"Douglas Bealsey

    Rosy Simas "We Wait in the Darkness"Douglas Bealsey

Jennifer Howell
Posted9/19/2014 3:04 PM

The Mitchell Museum is pleased to announce its latest exhibit opening, "All My Relations: A Seneca History" in collaboration with visual artist and dancer Rosy Simas (Seneca). The exhibit will introduce the history of the Seneca culture through milestones in the lives of Ms. Simas and her relations. It will display traditional and modern Seneca artifacts, which over the span of generations, represent the intimate themes of loss, connection and resilience by Ms. Simas and her tribal connection.

The exhibit opens on Saturday, September 27. A curator tour will take place at 11 am, followed by an artist talk with Rosy Simas at 2:00 pm entitled "Transforming a Family History into Dance." The talk is $10 for members and $12 for non-members. Call (847) 475-1030 or visit www.mitchellmuseum.org for more information.


The recorded maternal lineage of Ms. Simas extends back to Cornplanter (1750-1836), the distinct War Chief of the Seneca tribe during the time the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 (a land treaty) was signed by George Washington. Materials from Simas' grandmother tell of growing up on the reservation, attending boarding school, relocation to urban centers, and the American Indian Movement. Historical maps and unique artifacts including a Seneca basket made by famous artist Nettie Watt will be on display. Video segments highlight the Seneca thirty-year protest to keep Cornplanter's land from the flooding of the Kinzua Dam erected 50 years ago. The loss of the land during this part of Ms. Simas' story evolved into her artistic modern dance now touring the United States.

"This installation is the first I have ever made," said Ms. Simas. "I am primarily a dance maker. My work investigates how culture, history, home and identity are stored in the body and can be expressed in movement."

On Thursday, October 16-Saturday October 18 at 8:00 pm, Ms. Simas will perform "We Wait in the Darkness" at Columbia College in Chicago. The performance is in correlation to the Mitchell Museum exhibit, and is based on her Seneca heritage and the ways ancestry, homeland, culture and history are stored in the body and expressed in movement. Discount tickets are available for visitors that attend both the exhibit at the museum and the Columbia College performance.

The Mitchell Museum is one of only a handful of museums in the country that focuses exclusively on the art, history and culture of American Indian and First Nation peoples throughout the United States and Canada. In 2012, The Mitchell Museum was named "Best Museum of The North Shore: Up and Comer" by Make it Better magazine, won the Superior award by the Illinois Association of Museums and was named a national finalist by the American Association of State and Local History award program.

For more information about The Mitchell Museum of The American Indian, visit www.mitchellmuseum.org or call 847-475-1030. The museum is open Tuesday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday- Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and children and Free for Mitchell Museum members and Tribal members.