Archive | June, 2011

Behind the Lens – Indigital: Reflections of a Tribal Community

29 Jun

The Ziibiwing Center Photography Club began about a year ago with a mission to bring together local photographers. Co-founders Charles Butzin and Esther Mays-Helms wanted to share their passion with other dedicated photographers in the area and open up discussion about photography style and technique.

Radiant by Charles Butzin

Today, the club’s work is displayed in the Ziibiwing Center’s Changing Exhibit, “Indigital: Reflections of a Tribal Community.” Members’ photographs are featured on the walls, in digital format, and printed on fun games and puzzles. On June 25, the club released additional digital artwork into the changing exhibit. Butzin and Mays-Helms were on hand to discuss their artisitc inspiration and artwork.

“We wanted to show Native people today,” said Butzin, “Our culture is always changing.”

The club’s co-founders each gave presentations on photography technique and how it has affected American Indian culture in the past and present.

Mays-Helms discussed how American Indian culture has evolved with photography. From Western photographers in the early 1800s who used Indians mostly as subjects to modern-day American Indian artists like Zig Jackson and Theresa Harlan who push the boundaries of what can be done in photography.

“In the past, silence and secrecy often meant survival of the race and culture,” said Mays-Helms, “but if you look at the petroglyphs, we’ve been doing images for a long time.”

E Zine by Esther Mays-Helms

Butzin, who is a professional photographer, talked more about utilizing the features of the camera. Changing shutter speed and aperture settings are two ways he is able to produce unique photos that capture shadow, light, and emotion.

“You just have to challenge yourself to look for these things,” said Butzin, “Don’t take the pictures everyone else is taking.”

The Ziibiwing Center Photography Club currently has twelve active members and a handful of others who attend periodically. The club meets at the Ziibiwing Center on the second Monday of each month from 6pm – 7:30pm.

For more information about the changing exhibit visit:

Indigital Photographers’ Panel this Saturday

24 Jun

You’re invited!

Come spend the afternoon at the Indigital Photographers’ Panel from 1-3pm this Saturday. The photographers on the panel consist of tribal members who not only helped put together the current “Indigital: Reflections of a Tribal Community” changing exhibit but captured many of the pictures on the exhibit walls.

Take this opportunity to learn about the panelists’ artistic inspirations and their own digital photography techniques. During this event, the panel will unveil additional digital artwork from theZiibiwingCenter’s Photography Club Members to be displayed in the Indigital exhibit.

The “Indigital: Reflections of a Tribal Community” changing exhibit will be on display until October 1, 2011.  The changing exhibit is complimentary with admission to the Diba Jimooyung permanent exhibit. On June 25, the exhibit will be free and open to the public for the panel session. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of a free event and take a look around the exhibit before it’s gone.

Click here for the event flyer!


What is a Petroglyph?

16 Jun

Between 300 – 1,000 years ago our Anishinabe ancestors etched carvings into the sandstone around the Cass River near Cass City, Michigan. The images of water panthers, archers, and deer are Michigan’s only known rock carvings attributed to American Indians.

The petroglyphs were discovered in 1881 when massive forest fires swept over the Lower Peninsula. Very little is known about the ancient artists who carved the images. Those ancestors are memorialized at the Ziibiwing Center in the Diba Jimooyung: Telling Our Story permanent exhibit.

Today, the soft sandstone where the carvings are etched have been damaged by decades of visitors and erosion. The Ziibiwing Center has teamed with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to present a Community Cultural Teaching & Feast at the Sanilac Petroglyphs this Saturday, June 18 from 11am – 3pm.

At this event we will cleanse and preserve the petroglyphs and hold cultural teachings in our beautiful Anishinabe language. The featured speaker will be Conrad Bobiwash (Mississauga First Nation).

For more information regarding the Community Cultural Teaching & Feast visit:


Stone Street Ancestral Recovery & Reburial Project

8 Jun

      The Ziibiwing Center has been given the authority by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council and the Genesee County Land Bank to coordinate an ancestral recovery and reburial effort of the Stone Street Site. The ancestral human remains will respectfully be sifted from over 76,000 cubic feet of dirt/construction debris piles and reinterred at the site.

     The project started May 17 and will go thru July with work being done Tuesday thru Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. There will be onsite archeological recovery techniques taught by Dr. Beverley Smith from the University of Michigan-Flint. The Ziibiwing Center is currently looking for individuals to assist in this mitigation effort. If you are interested in volunteering with this project or would like more information contact, the Ziibiwing Center at (989) 775-4750 or email Dr. Beverley Smith at

“Honoring, Healing & Remembering” at the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School

1 Jun

Monday, June 6 • 6am – 4pm (Rain or Shine) • FREE and open to the public

1400 W. Pickard – Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858  (Near corner of Pickard & Crawford)

Please join us on the 77th anniversary of the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School closing as we recognize the suffering, strength, and resilience of the children through a day of inter-denominational prayer, memoriam, and fellowship.

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. Bring your family photos and letters for the Ziibiwing Center to scan and archive.

Click on these links for more information and to review the event flyer or

For more information contact:

        Dee Ann Bosworth           Ziibiwing Center

                (616) 648-9891                (989) 775-4750