Collection First Nations Installation, South Dakota

First Nations Gerald Mac Master

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Author/ School/ Dating:

Massimo Chiappetta and Gerald Mac Master


Thematic path, first floor

Object Type:



This installation is the fruit of a collaboration between the designer Gerald Mac Master (a first nations artist from the Cree people of the Canadian plains) and the museum designer Massimo Chiappetta who, at the time of the opening of the museum in 2004, was assistant to the director of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. Gerald accepted our invitation to interpret the museum collections that came from his people and which have been in Genoa since 1892, when, after arriving as part of the material sent by the American Catholic Missions for the Colombian celebrations they were donated to the city at the end of the exhibition.
Native children’s toys, together with women's and children's moccasins in deer leather decorated with beads and silk thread, a suspended cradle, a traditional pioneer-style cap covered with porcupine quills with native religious motifs are some of the rich artefacts collected in this display case which, not by chance, is circular and “dug” into the ground.
It introduces us to the world of women and children of some of the peoples of South Dakota, these artefacts are placed on a bed of marble dust, as a symbol of our desire to pay tribute to peoples that “we” have exterminated through alcohol, disease, rifles and greed for raw materials and land “conquered” for our enrichment.
Incorporating the indigenous voice in the presentation of the collections, combining more voices and more perspectives for us has been fundamental in broadening both the vision and the interpretation.