Envisioning Indigenous Futures
Long before Henry Hudson’s arrival in 1609, Manhattan or Manaháhtaan, as originally named by the Indigenous Lenape people, was a place of gathering and exchange amongst diverse nations. Today, Broadway runs along a portion of the original matrix of trails that connected Manaháhtaan to the broader northeast region and the Great Lakes.
Artist Beatrice Glow and The Wayfinding Project at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU partnered with Highway 101, ETC (Experiential Tech Community) to build Mannahatta VR, an interactive virtual reality experience that brings together the past and present of one Broadway block. This project was developed through consultation with Native culture bearers, ecologists, educators and technologists. In the process, we ask ourselves how can we expand knowledge of Indigenous Manhattan? What does a sustainable Indigenous future look like?
Mannahatta VR is a supplement to Lenapeway, an installation that was on 24-hour view in the street-level windows of 715 Broadway (at Washington Place) from October 10 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day) to December 9, 2016. The location of the installation, which was viewable from the sidewalk 24/7 and cosponsored by NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, marked the intersection of the main Lenape trail and a side-trail that traverses through present-day Washington Square Park.