Random Acts: Canes of Power, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture

A grouping of several of the canes gifted to Pueblo nations in 1863, courtesy Silver Bullet Productions

While the American Civil War still raged, and 13 southern states sought secession from the Union, President Abraham Lincoln offered no concessions. But he did bestow sovereignty on New Mexico’s 19 Pueblo nations, an act commemorated through the gifting of ornamental, silver-tipped canes to each of them. In the Emmy Award-winning documentary Canes of Power, Academy Award-winning actor Wes Studi (Cherokee) narrates the story of how the canes came to represent symbols of tribal authority that Pueblo peoples continue to revere. The film explores why New Mexico’s Pueblos were the only tribes in the nation at that time to be afforded the recognition. A free screening of the documentary takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (710 Camino Lejo, 505-476-1269, indianartsandculture.org). Following the screening, Dr. Matthew Martinez, MIAC’s deputy director and associate producer of the film, leads an audience Q&A. 

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