Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Canes of Power Film Screening

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

December 16, 2019


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) - The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) announces a screening of the award-winning documentary, Canes of Power, on Sunday, January 19, 2020, at 1 p.m. The screening will be presented inside MIAC’s Kathryn O’Keeffe Theatre. 

Following the film, a Q&A session will be led by Dr. Matthew Martinez, MIAC’s deputy director, and associate producer of the film.

Canes of Power, narrated by Cherokee Actor Wes Studi – a recent Academy Award recipient – is the story of President Abraham Lincoln’s gift of engraved wood canes to each of New Mexico’s 19 Pueblo nations. The canes symbolized the recognition of tribal sovereignty at the very same time 13 Southern states were seeking their own sovereignty (in the form of succession) from the United States. 

“The film was released when sovereignty was being questioned, as it still is,” says Pam Pierce, producer and CEO of Silver Bullet Productions. “We pose the question of why would Lincoln select these 19 from the 500 tribes, and do this, at that time, if at all?”

Screening Canes of Power during the month of January complements the transition of leadership in New Mexico’s Pueblos. “This film is timely as we acknowledge new tribal leaders appointed at the beginning of the year,” said Martinez, “as well as its continuance to add insight into the current discourse of federal and tribal relations.”

The film affords a profound glimpse into the connection between American history and the cultures of the Pueblo people, as well as the sustaining message of the authority of the Canes of Power.

Produced by Silver Bullet Productions, Canes of Power runs 56 minutes. Funding for the film was provided by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.


About the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture: 

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, through the generous support of donors.

As the 19th century closed, one of the Southwest’s major "attractions" was its vibrant Native American cultures. In response to unsystematic collecting by Eastern museums, anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett founded the Museum of New Mexico in 1909 with a mission to collect and preserve Southwest Native American material culture. Several years later, in 1927, John D. Rockefeller founded the renowned Laboratory of Anthropology with a mission to study the Southwest’s indigenous cultures. In 1947 the two institutions merged, bringing together the most inclusive and systematically acquired collection of New Mexican and Southwestern anthropological artifacts in the country. 

710 Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87504, Phone: (505) 476-1269.Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’sEvents, news releases, and images about activities at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and other in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

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