When Skyler Lomahaftewa, a Roaring Fork Valley resident and Ute Indian, visits third-graders in their classroom they ask questions like “Do you live in a tipi?” and “Do you have a horse?” He wants to bring awareness of his tribe’s past and present out of the stereotypes and into this century. As part of the Aspen Historical Society’s award-winning exhibit programming, these questions are now being answered.
This week it was announced that the Historical Society’s exhibit "Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People" will receive two national awards for leadership in history. The exhibit received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History and one from Mountain-Plains Museum Association.
"Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People" explores the story of the Ute Indians, who called the Roaring Fork Valley home for hundreds of years before the miners. They were forced onto reservations in the 1880s, and this exhibit takes visitors on a journey that acknowledges this displacement and embraces their position in modern America today.
Through complementary adult and children’s programming, Seasons of the Nuche took its message beyond the walls of the Wheeler/Stallard Museum. It’s an often overlooked part of Aspen history. The additional programming brought it into the schools, as well as made it part of the community’s conversation helping to bridge the gap between the Ute people and residents.
Aspen Historical Society Curator Lisa Hancock and her staff worked with Lomahaftewa to make sure the exhibit was "objective, inclusive and comprehensive," according to a press release. In addition Dr. Brenda Martin, a cultural anthropologist, consulted and served on the exhibit committee.
The exhibit opened at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum at 620 W. Bleeker St. in June 2012 and was scheduled to close in 2014. "Due to the overwhelming success the exhibit will remain in place through 2015," the press release said.
Exhibit hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and free for children 12 and younger. It’s also free the first Saturday of each month.
Hancock will receive the award at the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History annual conference in Birmingham on Sept. 20 and she will accept the Mountain-Plains Museum Association award on Oct. 2 in Lincoln, Neb.