Eventually, I got cold enough that I decided it was time to head back over to the Eiteljorg Museum for an official warming session. It was so cool! Definitely worth the trip! The American Western Art was really great. I was expecting that to be the low-light of the museum, but I really enjoyed it. I think it may have inspired my next domestic trip to possibly New Mexico...any takers? They also had an amazing train layout that my grandpa, a true train aficianado, would have loved. The artisans had crafted all these monuments and buildings from the West from bark and wood...it smelled like a cedar forest! And, of course, the kid in me could have stood there watching the trains go around and around all day. Luckily, the hundreds of screeching children forced me to move along.
As great as all that was, the coolest part of the museum was definitely the Native American art and artifact collection. It was an interesting mix of contemporary and historic works. Gorgeous jewelry, baskets, katchinas, leatherworks, pottery, etc. divided and organized by region. There was a nice overview of the tribes and characteristics of each region of the US with some really fascinating info. Amongst the contemporary work, there was some stuff that I'd have to defer to my art professor sister, Dr. Laura's, expertise on, but the above picture is of an installation I found easy to understand and moving. Apparently, the US government sent "care packages" to different Native American tribes with medicine and supplies for an epidemic of some sort that was sweeping the nation. They also included body bags, which this native artist found symbolic of the "Americans" treatment of the natives from the moment they landed. From the first biological warfare (blankets infected with smallpox) to the theft of land, I don't think that attempted genocide is too strong a word. And neither did this artist, whose name I, unfortunately, did not write down :( On a lighter note, the museum also had a fantastic café with yummy food. This is the buffalo chili. Made with real bison! Delicious and warming.
Indianapolis wound up being an excellent way to kick off a 2012 of more independence and adventure. Can't wait to see what else the New Year will bring!