Boundless, a nearly museum-wide exhibition at the Mead, features work by Native American writers and artists, grounded in but not confined to the Northeast. Guest curator Heid E. Erdrich designed it to take shape like water, moving across generations and geographies.

Works from the Mead Art Museum collection and books from the College’s Collection of Native American Literature form the core of the show, which runs through Jan. 4. (There will be a smaller version in the spring.)

The day before the opening reception, Erdrich, who is Ojibwe, said she hopes visitors will take away the knowledge that “Native people have contributed to art and literature in what’s now the United States since the beginning,” and that they continue to do so. “The future of Native art is being revealed,” she said.

The show was developed with an advisory committee that includes members of the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, Shinnecock and Mohegan nations, among others, and also with Amherst faculty, staff and students.

A photo of two people floating in water with shawls floating around them

Cara Romero, Chemehuevi, American, born 1977. Eufaula Girls, 2015. Photograph, pigment print mounted on plexiglass. Mead Art Museum purchase, 2022. © Cara Romero

Photo of artwork: Ttephen Petegorsky ’75/Jim Gipe

A moderninst painting with sureal monster images below an exit sign

Andrea Carlson, Anishinaabe, American, born 1979. Exit, 2018. Screenprint. Mead purchase with Trinkett Clark Memorial Student Acquisition Fund, 2020. ©Andrea Carlson

Works in the exhibition span from the 17th century to the present, and range from paintings and prints to sculpture, video, historical texts, basketry and cookbooks.

Two book covers with the tite GWO Ypsilanti and a heart surrounded by a wreath

Andrew Blackbird, Odawa, American, 1814–1908. History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan. Birchbark binding, porcupine quill decoration by Margaret Blackbird Boyd, Odawa, American, 1817–1892. Ypsilanti Job Printing House, Mich., 1887. Amherst College Collection of Native American Literature.

Photos, from top: Petegorsky/Gipe; Courtesy of Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

A green screenprint of a Native American dress and a book with the title "The Indians' Book"

Left: Dyani White Hawk, Lakota/Sičháŋ u Oyáte, German and Welsh ancestry, American, born 1976. Nakíčižiŋ (Protect), 2019. Screenprint with metal foil. Mead purchase with Trinkett Clark Memorial Student Acquisition Fund, 2020.  ©Dyani White Hawk

Right: Natalie Curtis Burlin, American, 1875–1921; illustrated by Angel de Cora (also known as Henook-Makhewe-Kelenaka), Ho-Chunk (Winnebago),  American, 1875–1921. The Indians’ Book: An Offering by the American Indians of Indian Lore, Musical and Narrative, to Form a Record of the Songs and Legends of Their Race. Harper and Bros., 1935. Courtesy of Heid E. Erdrich.

A sewing basket with a photo in the center and two hands holding a small book open showing a buffalo

Top: Theresa Secord, Penobscot, American, born 1958.  Penobscot Sewing Basket, 2023. Ash and braided sweetgrass hand-harvested from Maine, and cedar bark, velvet, photograph. Mead purchase with William K. Allison (Class of 1920) Memorial Fund, 2023. ©Theresa Secord

Bottom: Fritz Scholder, Luiseño, American, 1937–2005. Lithograph in Random Thoughts and Memories, 1979. Photograph with Jacquelyn Cabarrubia ’25. ARC Press, Scottsdale, Ariz., 1979. Amherst College Collection of Native American Literature.

Photos: Petegorsky/Gipe (2); Courtesy of Amherst College Archives & Special Collections (2)

A lithograhph showing a Native American man surrounded by animals

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Salish-Kootenai/Métis, American, born 1940. Waiting for Rain, 2012. Lithograph. Mead purchase with William K. Allison (Class of 1920) Memorial Fund, 2022. ©Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Photo of artwork: Petegorsky/Gipe

Two pages of a bible

Published by John Eliot, American colonist, c. 1604–
1690. Fragment, from the Book of Numbers, of Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God (Eliot Indian Bible). Translated by Job Nesuton (Massachusett), Joel Iacoomes (Wampanoag) and Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck (Wampanoag). Printed by Samuel Green, Marmaduke Johnson and Wawaus, also known as James Printer (Nipmuc). Cambridge, Mass., 1663.

Courtesy of: Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

Written in Algonquin, the Eliot Bible was the first Bible ever printed in British North America. These pages are from the College’s vast Native American literature collection, which began with a gift from Younghee Kim-Wait ’82.

An intricatly carved piece of bark shaped in a rectangle

Sierra Henries, Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuc, American, born 1987. Pathways, 2023. Pyrography on birch bark, shell, synthetic sinew. Courtesy of the artist. ©Sierra Henries

Courtesy of: Mead Art Museum

A painting of a charging buffalo and a painting showing two Native Americans against a Star Wars themed background

Left: Frank Buffalo Hyde, Onondaga/Niimiipuu (Nez Perce), Beaver Clan, born 1974. I Got Rambling on My Mind, 2021–22. Acrylic on canvas. Mead purchase with Wise Fund for Fine Arts, 2022. ©Frank Buffalo Hyde

Right: Eric Gansworth, Onandaga, American, born 1965.  A long time ago on a turtle’s back, not far away..., 2023. Gouache and archival ink on Arches watercolor paper. Mead Art Museum and Amherst College Archives & Special Collections purchase, 2023. ©Eric Gansworth

The Leonard work is one of three in the exhibition to explore whales and whaling culture.

A modernist collage of a whale skeleton and a two green embroidered earrings

Left: Courtney M. Leonard, Shinnecok, American, born 1980. Collider Study #1, from BREACH: Logbook 21, 2021. Mixed media, clay,  acrylic on canvas. Mead purchase with the Wise Fund for Fine Arts, 2022. ©Courtney M. Leonard

Right: Brittney Peauwe Wunnepog Walley, Nipmuc, American, born 1991. Three-Tier Statement Earrings, 2022. Hemp fiber cordage. Courtesy of the artist. ©Brittney Peauwe Wunnepog Walley

Photos of artworks: Petegorsky/Gipe; Courtesy of the artist