BIG CYPRESS — The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is excited to welcome Durante Blais-Billie, of the Hollywood Reservation, as the new assistant director. The position assists with the day-day operations of the museum, including oversight of educational and outreach programming, exhibit development, preservation initiatives, and supporting the museum’s mission through its community and public efforts.
“I’m excited to bring my passion for Indigenous knowledge and Native empowerment into my position at the museum. Joining an institution that is committed to claiming space for Native history is an amazing opportunity to apply my love for our Seminole people and culture,” Blais-Billie said.
Blais-Billie earned a Master of Arts in art history and management from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She has demonstrated strong leadership, advocacy and community engagement efforts throughout her reign as Miss Florida Seminole, which will continue through July of 2021, and her more recent work with the Future Indigenous Leaders of South Florida. Blais-Billie has collaborated with many museums and organizations over the years, including co-curating the exhibit “Patchwork Mosaic: An Indigenous Gathering of Seminole Masterworks” at History Fort Lauderdale.
Although the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s physical buildings remain temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the museum is open online and working hard to stay connected and accessible.
“I am looking forward to Durante joining our team in February,” Kate Macuen, the museum’s director said. “Like most museums throughout the country, we have been through some challenges over the last 11 months. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and having Durante join us at this juncture as we are working towards our future reopening is very exciting. Along with her experience, she brings a contagious enthusiasm and a strong community commitment. I have no doubt that Dante is going to do great things for the museum.”
Blais-Billie will start at the museum on Feb. 8.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve my tribe alongside them,” she said. “It is an honor to assist our staff and community members, while also being a part of such a great support network. I cannot wait to begin.”