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Nov. 8, 2023
LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Josephy Center, in collaboration with Eastern Oregon University, announces the opening of an enlightening photo exhibit, “Nez Perce Music: Tradition, Assimilation, and Resistance.”
This exhibit delves into the rich musical heritage of the Nez Perce Tribe, emphasizing its significance to the tribe’s history and cultural resilience. The exhibit coincides with Native American Month, making it a timely and poignant celebration of Native American heritage.
Nez Perce music has a unique story to tell, one that reflects the profound relationship between the tribe and their land, history, and spirit. Drums, flutes, and voices harmonized with the natural sounds of wind, water, birds, and wildlife that surrounded them, creating a symphony that resonated with the essence of their culture. Despite the challenges posed by missionaries and boarding schools, Nez Perce musicians evolved their art, fusing the traditional with the contemporary, transitioning from the sacred to the jazzy, and turning adversity into opportunity. As Nez Perce elder and musician Si Whitman aptly states, “Music was always spiritual for us.”
Rich Wandschneider, representing The Josephy Center, shared his thoughts on the exhibit, saying, “That’s a good place to start thinking about Nez Perce Music.” The exhibit promises to take visitors on a journey through time, showcasing how the musical traditions of the Nez Perce people have transcended generations and endured as a testament to their resilience.
The Josephy Center’s Nez Perce Music exhibit provides a comprehensive exploration of over a century of Nez Perce musical heritage. The exhibition features a remarkable collection of images and informative texts that shed light on the themes of tradition, assimilation, and resistance. It is a tribute to the Nez Perce people’s ability to preserve their cultural identity through music, making it a source of strength and unity.
We are grateful to Linda Jerofke, who is sponsoring the exhibit on campus through the Native American Studies Minor, and to The Josephy Center for their generous support of this event.
The exhibit is open to the public and will be displayed in Ackerman Hall, First Floor Hallway, from November 13, 2023, to March 15, 2024. It is an opportunity for the community to connect with and appreciate the Nez Perce Tribe’s enduring musical legacy. We encourage everyone to visit and experience the power and resilience of Nez Perce music.
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