The Native Voices Traveling Exhibition Visits a College Established by Benjamin Franklin

LANCASTER, PA–The Native Voices traveling exhibition was hosted at a college rich in Pennsylvania history. Franklin & Marshall College was established 229 years ago with a gift of 200 British pounds from noted Philadelphia author and statesman Benjamin Franklin.

Two women and a man talk together, the exhibition panels visible in the background

Franklin & Marshall anthropologist, Prof. Mary Ann Levine (left), talks with Associate Dean Marion Coleman and guest speaker Prof. Darren Ranco at an event celebrating the Native Voices traveling exhibition. (Photo courtesy of Deborah Grove)

The college’s Martin Library of the Sciences welcomed the Native Voices exhibition in conjunction with several other programs. The exhibition will be in the lobby of the Martin Library from November 11 through December 12.

At a campus event related to the exhibition, Darren Ranco, PhD, discussed how tribal nations should embrace environmental science and related public policy initiatives. Ranco is a professor of anthropology and chair of Native American Studies at the University of Maine.

Ranco told the gathering he became interested in ecological issues as a boy after his tribe, one of the five Wabanaki Nations in Maine, was warned about eating contaminated fish from the Penobscot River. The Penobscot River, which is 109 miles long, runs through Maine and today features some popular river rafting areas.

Ranco also warned about the contemporary environmental damage caused by the emerald ash borer, an invasive green jewel beetle that attacks ash trees. The Wabanaki Nations traditionally make baskets from ash trees.

“Our very foundation can be tied to this resource,” Ranco said.

Carolyn Rittenhouse, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota who lives in Lancaster, additionally lectured on how Native American traditions foster therapeutic healing.

In a related event, the Eastern Woodland Pathways Dance Troupe and Spirit Wing performed in the atrium of Franklin and Marshall’s College Center. The dance troupe was accompanied by flute and guitar. The event provided a rare look into the social dances of indigenous peoples in the northeastern United States and Canada.

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