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Tribal Museum Partnership for the Documentation of Anishinabek Porcupine Quillwork Traditions

This collaborative partnership has been developed to document and present a distinctive cultural tradition that has not received the recognition it deserves given the importance of this artistic practice in Tribal Communities by Native artists and tradition-bearers. The documentation phase includes interviews with artists, photographic documentation of the gathering and processing of materials, the learning process, the role of Native language, and the sale and marketing of this traditional art. The outcomes will include a major traveling exhibition that will go to the Tribal museums of the participating partners and the MSU Museum. Additional outcomes include related public programs, publications, and passing on the tradition to the next generation via apprenticeship programs, mentoring, and classes. Attention will also be given to the obstacles Native people face in carrying on this historic art, including access to natural resources. This will be the first significant collaborative documentation and exhibition project that is being undertaken collaborative by the three tribal museums. It is hoped this will foster future such collaborations among these tribal museums.


  • Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, Manitoulin Island, Canada
  • Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Cultures and Lifeways, Saginaw-Chippewa Tribe, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan 
  • Eyaawing Museum and Cultural Center, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
  • MSU Museum
  • Michigan Traditional Arts Program
  • University Outreach and Engagement
  • MSU Native American Institute


  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Terra Foundation for American Art
  • MSU Native Language Program
  • Various foundations and sponsors
  • Endowments


C. Kurt Dewhurst

Director for Arts and Cultural Partnerships, Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship
Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Michigan State University Museum
Professor, Department of English
University Outreach and Engagement Campus Senior Fellow

Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship