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A new traveling exhibition from the National Library of Medicine examines concepts of health and wellness among contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Honoring the Native tradition of oral history, the Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness exhibition features personal stories from Native peoples across the country. Now encompassing more than 200 interviews, the exhibition presents a unique collection of perspectives that both educate and inspire visitors.

The Native Voices exhibition originally opened in 2011 in the rotunda of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. Now, the exhibition is traveling across the United States, where the NLM hopes its stories will raise awareness about health issues that are affecting Native peoples.

The traveling version is smaller in size than the Native Voices exhibition in the rotunda of the National Library of Medicine, but it contains all of the video interviews of the original, presented on iPads with accompanying banners.

These interviews offer perspectives on community wellness, the intersection of modern medicine and traditional healing, spirituality, individual responsibility, and respect for nature.

The Native Voices exhibition has already traveled to a variety of host locations, including colleges and libraries, museums and cultural centers, art galleries, and medical centers. Each venue provides a unique opportunity for local communities to enhance the Native Voices exhibition by showcasing their own art and artifacts, or hosting it during powwows or other community events.

The Native Voices exhibition attracts media interest wherever it travels. It was even recognized by Congress for its contribution to positive health outcomes for Native peoples.

The National Library of Medicine has a history of working with Native communities as part of the Library’s commitment to make health information resources accessible to people no matter where they live.

When it travels, the Native Voices exhibition helps to raise awareness about the steps native peoples are taking to improve the health of their communities.

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