About the Author

Kara Briggs


Articles by Kara Briggs

Children step up as culture-bearers

Children step up as culture-bearers

WASHINGTON – Kelly Church, a weaver of black ash baskets, is working against time to teach the children of her tribe, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa, about the imperiled tree. Black ash trees across a vast swath of the continent – from Wisconsin to New York and as south...
Jazz sax in a Native key

Jazz sax in a Native key

NEW YORK – Cherokee saxophone player and bandleader Sharel Cassity has a trademark lick. It sounds like the wavering falsetto that starts a powwow song. “I believe that jazz comes from the powwow drum,” said Cassity, who lives in New York. “There are elements from Africa. The harmonic consistency from...
Family of blended heritage takes center stage at museum

Family of blended heritage takes center stage at museum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers,” a play that explores racial ostracism and redemption, is being performed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Playwright William S. Yellow Robe Jr. draws a story of adult siblings, descendants of an African-American Civil War cavalryman and a woman,...
One man’s interest helps save ancient art

One man’s interest helps save ancient art

Dennis White, an Ojibwe mathematics scholar from the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in northern Wisconsin, is credited with helping to revive interest in finger weaving, a 4,000-year-old art among his people. Last year, White was one of four recipients of a residency from the Artist Leadership Program at the National...
Story of Americans with Native and black ancestry stirs deep emotions

Story of Americans with Native and black ancestry stirs deep emotions

WASHINGTON – An exhibition opening this fall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian explores the identity of people whose ancestry is both African American and Native American. “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas” is an exhibition of 20 banners bearing photographs and text. It will shown...
Fellowship focuses on conservation

Fellowship focuses on conservation

SUITLAND, Md. – For Anne Gunnison, there is a great future in plastics. Gunnison, a Mellon fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, is studying how to protect and preserve the plastics used in a large mobile that the museum plans to install this fall titled (as...
Film festival spotlights young Native directors

Film festival spotlights young Native directors

Longhouse Media, a production company that trains young Native filmmakers, brought two Aleut teens and their film to the 2009 Native American Film + Video Festival at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City last month. The festival, produced by the museum’s Film + Center,...

Briggs: Busted back to high school math

Ronald Reagan was president when I graduated from college. Don’t you dare calculate how long ago that was! It’s just an example of the kind of equation I am grappling now that I’m midway through my master’s degree, I find myself busted back to high school math. I’ve avoided mathematics since I..