Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

About the gallery

Explore the Richness and Diversity of the World's Cultures!

The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is Brown University's teaching and research museum. A resource across the university, we inspire creative and critical thinking about culture by fostering interdisciplinary understanding of the material world.

We provide opportunities for faculty and students to work with collections and the public, teaching through objects and programs in classrooms, in the CultureLab in Manning Hall, and at the Collections Research Center.

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Manning Hall, Brown University
Main Green
First Floor
21 Prospect Street
Providence, RI 02912

T: 401-863-5703

Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Closed Mondays & Brown University Holidays

Contact: leah_burgin@brown.edu brown.edu/Haffenreffer

September Press Release


As the Water Protectors faced militarized police, National Guard roadblocks, and heavy surveillance from local, state, and federal forces, a group of photographic drone operators emerged within their ranks. These Drone Warriors used technology to document the militarized force and police brutality the Water Protectors faced. By sending their drones up and over barricades, they illuminated spaces hidden from the public, unmasked the face of force, and showed the world the beauty of the landscape that was threatened by construction and potential contamination.

Their images motivated Water Protectors to join the movement in person, through donations, or by spreading the word on Facebook and with hashtags like #NoDAPL. We can view the use of drones by the Drone Warriors as an indigenization of neocolonial military and corporate surveillance technology. However, we also see in these images forms of aesthetic protest in which the beauty of the water, land, and the Movement itself are on full display.


Sacred is Sacred

For many years, Indigenous peoples have fought to designate Bears Ears as a national monument. Its two iconic buttes rising from the southern Utah skyline are now the center of a contested sacred landscape.

These buttes and the land surrounding them were homes to Indigenous people who used its natural features for hundreds of generations before President Obama declared it a national monument in December 2016. The land is marked with petroglyphs made by those who used its plants, animals and other natural materials to make their food, homes, and culture. The area is embedded within creation stories and tales known to ancestors and people today.

However, this area is also rich in oil and gas. Renewed calls for resource extraction threaten the natural and cultural landscape of Bears Ears. One year after President Obama’s monument dedication, President Trump removed 85% of the monument from protected status. Indigenous peoples are leading the fight for its protection.

Translated through arts, contemporary and past, this exhibition examines many stories of Bears Ears: the beauty of the land, the ways in which Indigenous peoples have come together to start a movement, the roles women and youth play in it, and how people are learning and healing through their fight to protect Bears Ears and preserve its sacrality. Through the voices and works in this exhibit, you will see and explore why protecting Bears Ears and the movement is important to Indigenous peoples and why it should be important to you.

From April 2016 through February 2017, thousands of Native and non-Native people, together known as Water Protectors, made the Plains of North Dakota their home, standing in opposition to the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They knew that the pipeline would bring more than 500,000 barrels of oil under Lake Oahe, the only source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and millions of others downstream. Its construction threatened Lakota cultural and sacred sites, and Standing Rock’s sovereignty as a Native nation.