Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

UCSB Library exhibition explores indigenous heritages and identity

You can’t miss the boat when you walk into the UCSB Library. A traditional Chumash plank canoe called a “tomol,” on display in the lobby alcove, serves as an invitation to and visual symbol of the new exhibition “Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: Roots, Resistance, and Resurgence.”

The exhibition, which continues through June 30 in the Library’s Special Research Collections, explores Indigenous heritages and identity, and their modes of cultural and political representation. Taking a transnational and interdisciplinary approach, it also examines the spiritual wisdom rooted in the practices of ancient Indigenous civilizations. A central theme of the exhibition is the resurgence, resistance and growth of the Chumash community, whose culture embraces the protection of the natural world and oceans that are sacred to Indigenous peoples and vital to the survival of humankind.

In addition to the tomol downstairs, the third-floor exhibition features ancient and modern objects from the Library’s Special Research Collections, and items on loan, including pre-Columbian artifacts; medicinal plants; videos about the Chumash community; and contemporary graphic art, literature and theater.

In conjunction with the display, a Chumash panel discussion will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, in the library’s Mary Cheadle Room. Three Chumash community members will share how the exhibition relates to their people. 

Additional information about the exhibition can be found at

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