Personal passion fuels Smithsonian exhibit

Personal passion fuels Smithsonian exhibit

San Francisco State University News

Denize Springer

The search for identity is particularly complex for Americans of both African and Native American heritage, according to Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies Robert Keith Collins.

Of Choctaw and African American descent, Collins has turned a personal passion into a career. His research, featured in a major exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, focuses on the racially motivated laws and other influences and issues that continue to complicate the lives of mixed-heritage people throughout the Americas.

According to the 2000 U.S. census, hundreds of thousands of Americans claim both African and Native American heritage. The tangled relationship between these groups began when Native Americans were enslaved, took African slaves, rescued them from slavery and married freed or freeborn African slaves. Collins’ research involves scouring historical records of the Americas, particularly the slave narratives compiled by the WPA (Works Project Administration) during the Great Depression, which illuminated the dynamics of slave life within Native American nations…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,