New In-Gallery Experience at UMMA Brings an Exhibition’s Story to Life
A new interactive audio experience is now available for Andrea Carlson: Future Cache at UMMA. Visitors can now bring to life the 40-foot-tall memorial wall that commemorates the Cheboiganing (Burt Lake) Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, who were violently burned from their land in Northern Michigan on October 15, 1900. The exhibition Future Cache seeks to center Indigenous museum-goers while prompting non-Indigenous visitors to consider how they benefit from the displacement of Indigenous peoples on the lands we currently live, learn, and work.
The text presented on the 40-foot-tall wall and brought to life with the new app, was written by the Burt Lake Band and originally intended for a Michigan historical marker commemorating the Band. However, the State of Michigan was unable to agree on the language for the sign, so it was never realized on the site of the Burt Lake Burnout.
Featuring both Anishinaabemowin, one of the original languages of the region, and English, this web app gives visitors an opportunity to hear the Burt Lake Band’s story directly from the voice of a member of the Band and other Native collaborators. The app gives visitors the ability to view the text from the exhibition’s central wall on their mobile device and have it read aloud to them in eastern and western Anishinaabemowin dialects and English. The audio experience aims to engage visitors with the Anishinaabe language, which is traditionally spoken and not written.
Artist Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe), based in Grand Portage, Minnesota, often focuses on histories of Indigenous displacement and belonging in her practice. Given that the University of Michigan Biological Station sits on part of the land associated with the Burt Lake Burnout, the artist decided to center the Burt Lake Band’s story on the largest wall in UMMA’s Vertical Gallery. This expansive amount of space draws visual attention to the ongoing occupation of Anishinaabe land and the specific plight of the Burt Lake Band at the heart of the U-M’s central campus.
The app was made possible thanks to partnerships between UMMA, U-M professor of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) language instruction Alphonse Pitawanakwat, linguists Margaret Noodin and Michael Zimmerman, Jr., and Ojibwe.net, a platform that aims to preserve the Anishinaabemowin language digitally and creatively. The app features the voices of Burt Lake Band member Don Parkey, Alphonse Pitawanakwat, and Michael Zimmerman, Jr.
Though it is best viewed on a mobile device in the gallery, you can check out the new experience by clicking here. To view on desktop, please shrink your browser window.