Nov 14 2023


All Day

The Awakening of Turtle Island

Based on interviews and photographs of native American people, The Awakening of Turtle Island: Portraits of Native Americans — an award-winning touring exhibition created and designed by photographer Tracey Schmidt — has toured regionally to more than 16 museums and cultural centers since its premiere in Atlanta in 1996.  At its premiere, The Awakening of Turtle Island won the coveted Regional Designation Award in the Humanities, along with the Gwinnett Fine Arts Center, as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

The exhibition is on display at LEAF Global Arts in downtown Asheville, through December 31. Visit it during November, Native American Heritage Month.

From the artist: “Seeking to create an intimate glimpse into native people’s lives, this exhibit explores the beauty, sacredness, and spiritual re-awakening of people struggling to revitalize and preserve their important and immense gifts. Turtle Island is the Iroquois name for the North American continent. The name The Awakening of Turtle Island therefore means the awakening of America.

“The impetus for The Awakening of Turtle Island is based on the observation that there is in America today a growing awareness both of our delicate relationship with the environment and of the original Native Americans who viewed themselves as an integral part of nature and as its stewards. This awareness is a part of the rebirth we are all experiencing, as we discover that our present day dilemma leaves us searching for something real, inclusive, and whole.”

Pictured: R. Teesatuskie, Eastern Band Cherokee, photo by Tracey Schmidt

The event is finished.

Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.