First American Art Magazine No. 21, Winter 2018/19 - Page 44

funded the film program for several years and now continues to support student internships, fellowships, and scholarships for Native Americans interested in having a career at Disney and in the film industry. Warrior’s career took her to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) where she continued occasional collabora- tive efforts with Smith. When MIAC began planning for a new permanent exhibition, Warrior invited Smith to help the museum ensure that visitors would have an engaging experience. Smith agreed to bring a few members of the Disney Imagineering Team to the museum to meet with the planners. A two-day session of dialogue and discussion included a tour of MIAC’s individually cata- logued collection, 75,000 objects of art and material culture. The discussion led to a trip to Orlando for the MIAC group. There they spent two days with almost 20 members of the Disney Imagineering Team. “Those two days were wonder- fully enlightening,” says Warrior. “While there, we toured the Epcot Center and the American Experience Gallery. The exhibition at that time was focused on Black Americans and their contributions to America and the icons contributing to that. It was a very moving exhibition that made a powerful statement on factual but little-known history on the outstanding and quality leadership of Black Americans and their numerous contributions to American history. At that time, Carmen Smith turned to me and said, ‘How would you like to have an exhibit here on Native Americans?’ Of course I was thrilled and said, ‘Yes!’ She said, ‘Let’s do it!’ I went away wondering how it was going to happen and when. I received my answer about a year later.” 6 The National Museum of the American Indian joined the partnership. After several months, MIAC hosted a planning session that included curators and others from NMAI, Epcot, and MIAC. Warrior recalled, “We had an intensive planning session that was very difficult. We had to determine the story. What was the exhibit going to be about? With over 500 tribes and Alaskan Villages, it was extremely difficult.” 7 Disney considered all suggestions for the theme. Epcot curators began working 6. Della Warrior in discussion with author, August 30, 2018. 7. Ibid. 42 | WWW.FIRSTAMERICANARTMAGAZINE.COM