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Pueblo culture, kachina dolls subject of Nov. 13 library presentation

Nov 04, 2019
Dave Rockwell

Cushing — Kachinas are a well known but not always understood feature of Southwestern American Pueblo culture. In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, Dave Rockwell will offer "Zuni and Hopi Kachinas: A Brief Overview" at the Cushing Public Library, 39 Cross Rd., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. His presentation will include illustrations accompanied by a selection of Kachina dolls. The program is free and open to the public.

Rockwell has spent years studying the subject and collecting Kachina dolls. He recently retired and returned to Cushing after 54 years at Suffield Academy in Connecticut, where he was chair of the History Department for 25 years, teaching U.S. History, Philosophy and Native American Studies.

Kachina dolls are the physical manifestation of Kachinas, a spirit being in the Zuni and Hopi religious beliefs of the Pueblo peoples, representing anything in the natural world or cosmos. Zuni practice is the most complicated among the Pueblo cultures and includes ceremonies and rituals, both public and secret. Rockwell’s presentation will survey the practice and include the warning that Kachina dolls are sometimes commercially — and improperly — produced and marketed outside these cultures.

Rockwell continues to study native cultures and, in addition, has been present one day a week at Cushing’s Olson House to provide information on the relationship between the Olsons and his uncle, the artist Andrew Wyeth.

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