Burpee Museum’s new exhibit highlights native history in Rockford

The “Of this Place Exhibit” exhibit travels back in time, while also reminding Rockford of it’s native history.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 6:40 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Tony Tiger is an artist and member of the Sac and Fox Nation. He says his work dives deep into the legacy of his ancestors, a history filled with hardships.

“It’s challenging because of what happened, and how the land was obtained,” said Tiger. “These were homelands to our people, and it’s emotional to think about our people existed here.”

In fact, Tiger says his people used the Rock River for travel. While he loves sharing their history through his art, doing it in the place where they came from, leaves him speechless.

“This is an Etching of my ancestors, my two great aunts are the children in the cradles from 1915,″ said Tiger explaining his art.

He’s one of several Native American artists and educators to bring to life Burpee Museum’s “Of This Place”, exhibit with artwork that highlights the resilience of Native Americans and their connection to the future.

“This is the life that we lead, it’s always been near to me close to me,” said Starla Thompson, a member of the Potawatomi Nation. This marks her first exhibit to curate. She says these pieces represent her ancestors teachings, which she passes down to her children.

“We are all in this together, that is our world view,” said Thompson. “This exhibition is a hope.”

Tiger shares a similar sentiment, he says while the art shares how nations became disconnected. he hopes it serves as a way to help visitors find their own life paths.

“You’re going to be challenged,” said Tiger. “But, you are also going to be inspired by our story.”

The exhibit will be open to the public Saturday, and will be available to visit up until January 2023.

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