Ongoing Exhibit (Until September 1, 2029)

Across Boundaries Across Barriers

a woven basket from a Mi'kmaq artist once known

Among several Eastern Woodlands communities, it is known that there are more than four cardinal directions but rather there are seven – north, south, east, west, up, down, and center. These directions are derived from what is known as a medicine wheel – a symbol that is venerable among indigenous peoples signifying the intersection of Earth’s boundaries and all knowledge that is contained within the universe. From these directions, these places, our people emerged onto Turtle Island (the continental US). However, the medicine wheel not only refers to the directions but to concepts tied to the personal body, the seasons, colors, and times of the day, among other things. The medicine wheel and the seven directions are intended to inform one’s everyday life.

Using this framework, this gallery features historic and contemporary works of art from several Native American communities in five sections that center the concepts associated with each direction.

Organized by Fruitlands Museum, The Trustees, and curated by Tess Lukey, Associate Curator of Native American Art

Featured Image Caption: Artist once known. Fancy Basket, Mi’kmaq, c. 1900–1920. Ash splint, dye

Art On View