1181 Aboriginal Women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada in the past 30 years.
Blogs We Like | The Last American Indian on Earth
Way back when we interviewed the mods of Black Contemporary Art, we made a point to not add a steaming pile of white commentary. Why? It’s not because white people “aren’t allowed” to have opinions or thoughts on non-white art. Rather, it’s because the reception of virtually all North American art is vastly overdetermined by white interpreters, and also because art made from a specific ethnic/cultural perspective is often better explained by people with at least some direct experience within said specific perspective.
Following that axiom, I’d like to let Gregg Deal, an “artist, a husband, a father and a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe,” explain his ongoing work in The Last American Indian on Earth:
This project is a performance art piece. I will be wearing traditional Native American clothing in various, everyday scenarios interacting with the public which will create interesting, thought-provoking, and even comical situations where the public will be forced to look at me, as a stereotypical Native person, and what I’m doing, and question what they are watching.
How will they react if they saw me, a Native dressed in buckskin and a headdress, doing something as mundane as shopping for cereal at the grocery store? How would they react if they saw me eating Chinese food in China Town or taking pictures of buffalo at the National Zoo? How would they react if they saw me waiting in a Metro station or were riding in the same Metro car?
The performances will include a number of things that are simple, mundane, funny, political, over the top, satirical, ironic and even sad. (via)
One point of particular interest is Gregg’s invocation of stereotype, which enhances and complicates the sense of confrontation intrinsic to the project. The hundreds of native tribes in the US have obviously produced huge, diverse bodies of clothing and ornament, but Deal chooses one in particular. Why?
The Plains image is chosen explicitly because its ad nauseam reimagination, replication, and dissemination positions it as the ONLY legitimate iteration of Indianness and thereby obscures both our diversity and contemporaneity. How do I know this? Because this work is grounded in solid research on the health impacts of historic trauma and microaggression in the lives of Native people. And because the artist consistently fact checks and also asks me, a Shawnee woman and applied medical anthropologist, about how this plays. (via kiksuyapo)
Deal’s project has certainly triggered (forced?) dialogue about indigenous genocides, appropriation, and assimilation in the US, both in person and online, making it one of the most effective and impactful long-form art performances in recent memory. Kerry Hawk Lessard’s commentary on this image alone is one of the most inspiring gems of art interpretation/exegesis I’ve read in months, and it’s gratefully only one of many truly illuminating thoughts to grow from Deal’s project. Whether a particular instance/event is crass, subtle, funny, or tragic, Deal’s project is vital, intense, and wholly necessary.
I still laugh about the amount of people this post has angered
So you hate America?
But you can only be angered by this if you’re an idiot because that’s the correct answer
amen to that
The last picture taken of Jim Morrison.