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Public Events -- Illinois Artisans & ISM Chicago Gallery

  Dennis Downes: Native American Trail Marker Trees Photographs   

Image from Dennis Downes: Native American Trail Marker Trees Photographs

Dennis Downes: Native American Trail Marker Trees Photographs

  • Location: ISM Chicago Gallery, Chicago
  • Date: Monday, June 16, 2014 through Friday, June 20, 2014 , 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

The Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery presents a special exhibit in the Atrium of the James R. Thompson Center - Inspiring Photographs by Dennis Downes.

Illinois author and photographer, Dennis Downes will exhibit photographs from his Native American Trail Marker Trees book. The photographs document the trees that were purposely “shaped” by Native Americans long before the arrival of Europeans. These culturally modified living landmarks or “markers” pointed the way to natural landmarks, sacred spots, river crossings, natural springs, exposed mineral deposits portage routes, they also served as exit signs off of the main routes leading the Native Americans to important objects necessary to their way of life. Some of these trees were shaped by Native Americans to commemorate treaties either between tribes or between Europeans and Native Americans, other trees formed sacred Council circle's. The exhibit is located on the first floor Atrium of the James R. Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL.

Dennis has traveled over 250,000 miles to 43 States and five bordering provinces of Canada conducting field research and photographing the trail marker trees with many Native American tribes, local historians, foresters, archaeologists,
anthropologists and arborists. He has been trapped in snow storms, ice storms witnessed incredible forest fires and floods, had to deal with some colorful country folk and their large dogs, local snakes, ticks, poison ivy, and hordes of mosquitoes,
all while living and working out of the back of his pickup truck.

For those familiar with the depth and scope of Mr. Downes’ studies, it is inspiring to see the result of this 30 year study. There is a spirituality surrounding these trail marker trees—a link with a past that these majestic trees have witnessed. Throughout the book the author makes it clear that these trees need to be respected and protected, treated as national treasures.

Since the release of the book Mr. Downes has received three proclamations in two Illinois counties counties for his contribution to local Native American history through the completion of this book and his artistic accomplishments regarding the trail marker trees.

On June 20th from 12:00 to 2:00 PM, join us for a public book signing with Dennis Downes.

Atrium hours are Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 6 PM, closed state holidays. The Atrium is free and wheelchaoir-accessible. Tours are welcome. Please call for appointments, 312-814-5318.

For more events at ISM Chicago Gallery.

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