Angela Sterritt.

Gitxan artist and CBC journalist Angela Sterritt spent five days in China creating this mural. (Angela Sterritt).

Gitxan artist and CBC journalist Angela Sterritt spent five days in China creating this mural. (Angela Sterritt).

A Gitxsan artist from British Columbia is among several artists from around the world chosen to create murals at a mountain village resort in China.

“To be able to put Gitxsan people on the map and shed light on the reality and history of Indigenous people in Canada is something I am very grateful for,” Sterritt said.

Angela Sterritt, who is also an award-winning journalist, spent five days painting her mural on a 10-seven-foot wall in a resort on Mount Longhu in Jiangxi, a province in southeast China.

She travelled to China at the invitation of Karl Schutz, a German-born Vancouver man known for establishing an acclaimed series of murals in Chemainus, B.C., in the 1980s.

Schutz, in turn, was invited to organize the mural project by Steven Liu, a well-known Chinese entertainer, who “wanted to create a global mural attraction in his artisan village,” according to Schutz.

“I found Angela’s website on line and was amazed about her powerful art … her painting is awe inspiring,” said Schutz.

Sterritt made the journey with her young son, Namawan, who also helped with the project.

The mural Sterritt painted is a re-creation of one of her existing works, called First Contact, which she says is about the resilience and strength of Indigenous women. It is a striking image is of an Indigenous woman facing the viewer, while helicopters hover behind.

“It depicts a woman whose connection and love for her community, family, the land and her culture eclipse fear instilled in us at the time of first contact,” Sterritt said.

“As a Gitxsan woman, I’ve been gifted Sip’ xw hligetdin — the strength to speak out — through my art and as a journalist. This piece speaks to Indigenous women rising from the ashes [using] what has been within her all along — her culture, in this case from the Wolf Clan, an Owl Crest and a Big Raven House.”

The full story is here. Angela Sterritt’s site.

Osage Nation Takes Over Ted Turner Ranch.

Bison on the Bluestem Ranch.

Bison on the Bluestem Ranch.

Yesterday media mogul Ted Turner officially transfered ownership of his 43,000-acre Bluestem Ranch to the Osage Nation. The tribe’s $74 million purchase restores a portion of the roughly 1.2 million acres that the tribe owned until 1906, when the reservation was allotted to individual tribal members, according to Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear. The Osage Reservation once covered the entirety of Osage County.

The Osage Nation is filing applications for federal trust status to protect the land from future sale. “We are the boss of our lands. The federal government is here to assist us,” Standing Bear told Fox 23 News.

Turner likewise intends for the land to remain under tribal ownership: “It is my sincere hope that our transaction is the last time this land is ever sold,” Turner wrote in a letter to Standing Bear, “and that the Osage Nation owns this land for all future generations.”

Turner, the founder of CNN and Turner Broadcasting, ran a bison-raising business during his 15-year ownership of the land. He will continue to run his bison operations in a more centralized area, primarily in Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.

The Osage Nation plans to continue the bison business. The tribal council has additionally received at least a dozen applications already for additional proposals for the open fields, involving, fishing, hunting and more to turn a profit, while preserving the wildlife and the land. “We are trying to organize ourselves on a preservation side and the profit-making side, and also with the cattle operations to support it,” Standing Bear told Fox 23 News.

The tribe celebrated receiving the land with drums and song on Wednesday.

In a January 21 letter to Turner explaining what regaining even a small portion of the Osage’s original homelands would mean, Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear wrote:

“Until 1906 we owned nearly 1.5 million acres in one contiguous parcel of what is now Osage County. Then, our ownership was fragmented into thousands of individual parcels and the mineral estate handed over to control of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a result of these actions we now own only five percent of our original land in scattered parcels.”

I am very pleased the Osage Nation got a small portion of its land back, but it’s still distressing that it costs such an outrageous sum to get stolen property back.

Via ICTMN.

Beauty Everywhere

Claudia Bicen shows the deep beauty of age, of impermanence. I’ve always had a deep and abiding love for Vanitas work, but I think there’s a tendency to show humans in vanitas only as skulls, or what detritus they may have left behind. Perhaps it’s in self defense that we skim over aging, in every day life as well as art. As an aging person, I’m all for seeing the beautiful in age, rather than looking away or being engaged in a desperate fight to fob it off. Bicen’s work is exquisite, go have a look.

Tat tvam asi - Pastel on wood block 12" x 12" - © Claudia Biçen 2013 Gauntlet Gallery, Visions & Reflections Group Exhibition (SOLD) Editor's Award - Portrait Competition 2013 - www.myartcontest.com

Tat tvam asi – Pastel on wood block 12″ x 12″ – © Claudia Biçen 2013
Gauntlet Gallery, Visions & Reflections Group Exhibition (SOLD)
Editor’s Award – Portrait Competition 2013 – www.myartcontest.com

The Revival of Indigenous Ink

A nice article on the revival of indigenous tattooing, by Ruth Hopkins. And yes, I have a wrist tattoo, for a lot of years now.

Due to colonization and the spread of Christianity throughout Native lands, Indigenous tattooing became taboo during the assimilation era. Even today, it’s discouraged. As a result, the practice went underground. Thankfully, genocide was unsuccessful and Native Nations remain, along with their languages, customs, belief systems, and rich heritages. As Native people begin to return to their traditional ways, we are starting to see a resurgence of the ancient art of tattooing.

. . .

Indigenous tattooing is part of who we are. As non-Native hipsters and popstars display generic dreamcatchers and Americans get so-called ‘Tribal’ tattoos on their flesh en masse, it becomes even more vital that we save the art of Indigenous body design from the brink of extinction, thereby preserving its true meaning and place in Native history so we may pass it down for generations to come.

There’s more about Indigenous ink here, about Nahaan.