Decolonize Your Gitch.

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Summer Peters is hoping to inspire other Indigenous women to push the boundaries of Native art. (Andrea Noline).

Summer Peters, an Ojibway artist, recently won an award for her piece, Decolonize Your Gitch. I have to say, I quite like it, there’s a joyous assertiveness to it, and a bit of happy, rebellious fuck off in there as well. The piece has come under fire from some, there are people who say it promotes violence against native women, but I think those arguments can be consigned to the same old rape culture arguments women always hear, that for some reason or other, it’s totally our fault if we end up raped, beaten or murdered. There are also a number of people, usually not native, who object to any modernization of traditional Indigenous arts.

An Ojibway artist is taking a feminist stand against online critics, who say she should be ashamed of her recent award-winning piece called Decolonize Your Gitch.

Summer Peters recently won a judge’s choice award at a U.S. art festival for her artwork, a bra and thong beaded with traditional floral designs.

After she posted it to social media, “I would say 99% of the people liked it,” Peters said.

But others objected to the piece, accusing her of “promoting violence towards native women.”

“There was a guy that said I should be ashamed of myself, my family should be ashamed of me, that I was nuts, that I was crazy, that my beadwork was shitty,” said Peters.

In response to her critics, Peters wrote in an Instagram post:

“I will take all the negative criticism so that Native lady artists in the future will maybe have an easier time … women should not be told what to do, what to wear in attempts to avoid sexual violation, we should not have to cover up and/or NOT wear a pretty bra & panty set or bikini because we might be violated and it would be all of our faults.”

You can read more here.

Kliluk in nsyilxcen.

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In the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, lies a lake like no other. Known as kliluk in nsyilxcen, it is a site of deep spiritual and cultural significance for the Syilx Okanagan people. Throughout winter and into spring, this lake looks like any other body of water, nestled away in the rolling hills with a shallow depth and shimmering surface.  However, as the summer sun grows hotter and its rays beat down on the lake, water evaporates, lowering the surface level over time. As the water level drops, interesting shapes begin to break the surface.

As the summer heat drives on, it becomes clear that these shapes are sections of giant circles, which are normally lying invisible just below the surface. Now, with the hot summer providing no relief or added water, the circles continue to reveal themselves. Colourful pools of water appear at their centre, displaying gorgeous hues of yellow, blue and green. These beautiful ‘spots’ give this magical lake its English name – ‘Spotted Lake’. The lake’s beauty is only half the story though – its history is fascinating as well.

‘Spotted Lake’ has no outflow; no river or creek to drain it, and receives all its water as run-off from the surrounding hills. Each year, as snow melts and flows into the basin, it brings with it minerals and salts, which accumulate year over year, century over century. As the summer sun evaporates the water, the salts become exposed and the spots change in size and colour over a matter of months, creating these beautiful fluctuating hues, based on the mineral composition of each spot.

You can read more here. And a couple of videos:

Indigenous Activism Roundup.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mni wiconi—”water is life”—appear to be empty words to the federal government, but they now constitute a battle cry for Native nations as they rise together in the U.S. capital today to voice their discontent with the Trump administration’s policies regarding indigenous rights and power.

[…]

Organizers also want the public to know that this gathering is not just about the Dakota Access Pipeline, even though it now serves as the symbol of all that’s wrong with the government-to-government relationship that tribes and the federal government are supposedly involved in. Tribes point to the Trump administration’s fast-track actions on the pipeline sans meaningful consultation and environmental review serving as the tipping point for Indian country by making a mockery of free, prior and informed consent—the right of every other sovereign nation in the world. They hope to make the point that the federal government, in going forward with the pipeline against the tribes’ wishes, abdicated its role as trustee to protect the tribes’ rights and resources, and violated their sovereignty and self-determination.

Full Story at ICMN. Think Progress also covers this story.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”

Full story at ICMN.

There is No O’odham Word for Wall.

TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Branch is firm on their stance against a border wall being built.

“[It’s] not going to happen,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manual. “It is not feasible to put a wall on the Tohono O’odham Nation…it is going to cost way too much money, way more than they are projecting.”

TON Chairman Manuel went on to say, “It is going to cut off our people, our members that come [from Mexico] and use our services. Not only that we have ceremonies in Mexico that many of our members attend. Members also make pilgrimages to Mexico and a border wall would cut that off as well.”

ICMN has the full story.

This Is My Body.

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This Is My Body. A figure stands in the middle of the image with arms outstretched. A red headband covers the forehead and long, loosely braided dark hair, parted in the middle. White streams down the face, and the eyes are red and swollen. The body has a bleeding wound on its side, a hole in each palm, and three rubber bullet wounds. Dark figures with riot gear border the figure to the right, while water from a vehicle cannon shoots down at the figure. (Art done by Joann Lee Kim).

Joann Lee Kim has a stunning body of work, do yourself a favour and wander over for a long look. I came across Ms. Kim’s work at The Establishment, specifically an article by Dae Shik Kim Hawkins Jr., about the days when 500 ministers descended on the NoDapl camp. I was there for that, and talked to several of the ministers. The ones I spoke with all seemed rather dazed and overcome by everything happening at the camps. The particular perspective of the article is an interesting one, and quite important, I think: Christianity Is Co-opting The Justice Movement. It’s an excellent article. Solidarity is more important than ever, as is making sure that solidarity is intersectional and inclusive. When it comes to christian involvement in major social justice fights, particularly indigenous ones, it is very important that attention is seriously paid to the colonial roots and colonial mindset which still rules most peoples’ thinking and actions, especially those of churches.

Have a read, highly recommended. And when you’re done, have a look around at the rest of The Establishment, a lot of good writing going on there.

Cultural Codex.

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https://culturalcodex.com/

A new online publishing platform is working to preserve and share knowledge of the cultures and languages of indigenous communities. Cultural Codex, developed by software company Dadavan Systems, invites anyone to contribute stories and experiences that record aspects of indigenous culture they want to celebrate, through personalized galleries that support text, video, photographs, and sound recordings. Currently in its early stages, the website features just a few dozen examples so far, but its creators envision archivists, artists, curators, museums, cultural and language centers, and many others producing online exhibitions and libraries that feature everything from archival material to personal reflections. Like those ancient, handwritten books from which the project takes its name, the growing resource will come together as a collaborative effort.

For a new platform, there’s a lot to see already, so do a bit of exploring and learn a little! Cultural Codex.

If you’d like to read more about the project, Hyperallergic has you covered.

White Minority Rule…

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A checklist of how maintaining white minority rule can be achieved.

Well, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the Trump Administration and the GOP are engaging in a plan that Karl Rove and his billionaire patrons, as well as the GOP have had in the mill for a few decades. What is the plan?

TO CONTINUE WHITE PRIVILEGE AND THE WHITE SUPREMACY HOLD ON ALL BRANCHES OF FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID OF LOSING POWER DUE TO THE ON-GOING SHIFT IN POPULATION TO MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR AND FOREIGN BORN THAN WHITES. THEY WANT TO ESTABLISH AND/OR MAINTAIN WHITE MINORITY RULE IN AMERICA UNDER THE GUISE OF NATIONALISM AND PATIOTISM.

How are they going to do it? As follows:

  • They will create and carry out a Civil War, if necessary, in order to achieve their aims.
  • They will engage in massive violations of the United States Constitution and Laws to achieve their goals.
  • They will scapegoat certain segments of the population, mainly people of color, immigrants and “liberals”, but also the middle class.
  • They will engage in passing discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation that the populace will accept as long as it is not aimed at their particular segment and when it is eventually aimed at them, they will be too fearful to do anything about it, and no one will be left to defend them.
  • They will engage in policy efforts, law enforcement efforts, military efforts and judicial efforts to reduce the influx on “non-white” immigrants and reduce the present population of non-whites, and this will include efforts to control the growth of non-white populations.
  • They will continue to “militarize” local, state and national law enforcement agencies and use them to protect corporate interests domestically and abroad and they will utilize the “domestic military” for these same purposes.
  • They will privatize public lands and interests in land, such as minerals and fuels, and continue to privatize (Corporate Control) the safe drinking water supply while allowing Corporate interests to pillage the “public trust” without regard to environmental impacts and the impacts to safe drinking water and agricultural water.
  • They will engage administrative policy enforcement through “Executive Orders” and other mechanisms, even if some are ultimately struck down by courts, and will utilize the same to divide the populace into warring segments.
  • They will engage or attack the Judiciary Branch in order to achieve their aims or eventually destroy it.
  • They will depend upon their followers, and those unaffected by initial discriminatory laws and policy, to eventually accept surrender of their Constitutional rights in order to establish white people as the “ruling class”.
  • They will use the catchwords of “nationalism and patriotism” as euphemisms or “code words” for “white rule” and “white supremacy” and will make it clear to poor and uneducated whites and eventually all of the white population, that their aim is to maintain white rule and white privilege, for the good of America.
  • They will attack the Free Press and attempt to silence any “Corporate Owned” media by convincing their followers, and others who eventually understand and accept their aims (either out of self-interest or fear), and will engage in Policy efforts and Congressional efforts to restrict the Free Press and Free Expression that is the lynchpin of the Constitutional Republic.
  • They will incrementally replace the Free Press with media sources that spew only manufactured “alternative” facts or function as the propaganda arm for the achievement of their aims.
  • They will create false facts which their followers will accept as Gospel in order to destroy the Free Press and attack and destroy the credibility of the Judicial and Congressional branches of government, which the GOP will go along with in order to achieve “one-party” domination.

That’s just part of Harold A. Monteau’s checklist and column. I highly recommend clicking over and reading the whole thing. Also recommended: West Wing World: The Amusement Park That Is the White House.

Norway’s Storebrand Goes NoDAPL.

NorSR

© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

More and more efforts are directed at divestment, and Norway’s largest private investor has decided to go No DAPL.

The largest private investor in Norway has pulled out of three companies connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) because of the conflict at Standing Rock.

Storebrand, an Oslo-based financial-services company that specializes in sustainable, socially conscious investing, has sold off nearly $35 million worth of shares in Phillips 66, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and Enbridge, the company announced on March 1.

“Storebrand has made the decision to withdraw all investments from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, including positions in the North American companies Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Enbridge Inc. and Phillips 66,” said Storebrand in a statement on March 1.

“Our conclusion is that these are poor long-term investments, both for our pension customer and from a sustainability point of view,” the company said.

Storebrand had investments of $11.5 million in Philips 66, $7 million in Marathon Petroleum Corp. and $16.2 million in Enbridge Inc., for a total of $34.8 million, said the company. According to its website, it has been in operation since 1767 and was managing pension funds since 1917, pre-dating Norway’s social security system by 50 years.

“There is too much uncertainty, for us as an investor, as to whether there has been a good process that ensures the rights of all parties in the conflict,” said Matthew Smith, Head of Sustainable Investments. “There has been involvement by the United Nations, by President Obama, and President Trump. Caught in the middle are the people directly impacted by the pipeline.”

[…]

Storebrand tried numerous tactics to enact change, Smith said in the statement, but none of them worked.

“Generally, it is our belief that we can have a more positive effect on companies and situations by using our position as an owner to effect change. We have successfully done so on many occasions, but it doesn’t always work,” Smith said. “Storebrand has been in direct contact with the companies, and has worked with international groups of investors. Our most recent initiative is an investor letter, representing 137 investors with $653 billion assets under management, that encourages involved banks that have lent money to the project to use their position and influence to engender positive change and a reconsideration the routing of the pipeline.”

Storebrand was forced to conclude that “active ownership is not going to deliver a better outcome,” he said. “We do hope that this can give a final indication to the involved companies to reconsider the routing of the pipeline.”

The investor joins a growing number of companies and entities that have pulled funds from Wells Fargo and other banks that are financing DAPL, ranging from the City of Seattle to individual account holders. Others, such as New York City, have put DAPL banks on notice.

The decision was not easy, Smith told The Guardian.

“Divestment is a last resort,” he said. “When you divest from companies, you give up your possibility to influence companies to come to a better solution.”

Full story at ICMN.

Fighting for Cultural Survival.

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Everything Anywhere.

A steel blindfold covers the head of a human female figure, yet, unlike Lady Justice, her arms and legs too are bound. Fiber, in an interlocking braid, ties her wrists, wraps her neck and belly, and snakes down to hitch her legs at the ankles. Over her shoulder, however, her hands clutch the means to freedom from her bondage: a soft white blade digs beneath the rope around her neck. Salvation via ceramics.

Artist Cannupa Hanska Luger was born on the Standing Rock Reservation. He is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian heritage. A graduate with honors from The Institute of American Indian Arts, in 2016 he was the recipient of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artists Fellowship Award for artists who “represent the cultural continuity of Native peoples in contemporary contexts, and are the creative voices of their communities.” His work in sculpture is figurative yet imaginative, assembling a panoply of cultural symbols—feathers, bones, textiles—into signifiers all his own. More mythopoeic than surreal, it frames him as a medium, a psychic intermediary between colonizer and Native, ancient tradition and modern understanding, soft clay and hard ceramics.

Nature.

Nature.

 

The Creators Project has an interview with Cannupa Hanska Luger, you can see and read much more!

http://www.cannupahanska.com/

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

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NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
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No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.

Confronting the Lasting Legacy of Colonialism.

Installation view, PARADISE COVE 1.0, 2015.

Installation view, PARADISE COVE 1.0, 2015.

At its best, Hawai’i’s art community reflects a multi-ethnic heritage as well as a critical desire to confront the legacy of colonialism that plays out in the present day against the people, land, and natural resources of the islands. For many long-time Hawai’i artists, there is an acceptance of a place where the market is not a priority. This is important work, hard work, work that must be done in the face of personal and economic sacrifice and the growing lack of institutional support, despite near-constant development and a booming tourist economy.

At its worst, Hawai’i’s art community is dated and alienating: full of the racist undertones and an underlying bitterness stemming from a lack of opportunities. Artists here can be unapologetically territorial. “Watufaka!” Given the whitewashed colonial injustices committed against Hawai’ians and throughout the Pacific, does it really come as a surprise? Meanwhile, artists trying to make a living face tremendous pressure to conform to touristic expectations and often end up sacrificing their vision to produce uninspired tropical seascapes or “designed by committee” public commissions for the state. Neither promotes meaningful engagement. Some artists go for broke and move to “the mainland,” never to be seen or heard from again. Some move home to surf or start a career, when they are jaded and tired, in their 40s. The rest just stop.

The whole essay, part of 50 States of Art, is at The Creators Project, and excellent reading. There’s more to see, too!

Crispus Attucks: A Shared Narrative.

Getty images - Simon and Schuster.

Getty images – Simon and Schuster.

Gyasi Ross has an excellent article up about Crispus Attucks, and the shared narrative between Black people and Indigenous people.

Since white colonization of this continent, Black and Native lives have always been valued less than other people.  The story of Crispus Attucks was an early illustration of how there seems to always be a reason why black and Native people get killed that somehow exonerates the authorities of guilt when they harm us.  “Self-defense.”  But, perhaps most importantly, the story of Crispus Attucks is about combined Native and black lineages that resisted, suffered, but through that resistance caused a revolution.

The year was 1770 and the scene was the Massachusetts Colony.  Boston was hot with anger and resentment toward England. 150 years after Pilgrims originally occupied the homelands of the Wampanoag people, the descendants of those Pilgrims felt like they were losing control of the land they called “home.” At that time slavery was legal in the Massachusetts Colony—white colonists enslaved Natives and blacks alike in Massachusetts.  For example, in 1638 during the so-called “Pequot Wars,” white colonists enslaved a group of Pequot women and children. However, most of the men and boys, deemed too dangerous to keep in the colony. Therefore white colonists transported them to the West Indies on the ship Desire and exchanged them for African slaves.

[…]

Crispus Attucks was both Indigenous and black and a product of the slave trade. He was brilliant in the survival skills that is common and necessary amongst both Indigenous people and black people since the brutal regime of white supremacy came to power on Turtle Island.  His mother’s name was Nancy Attucks, a Wampanoag Native who came from the island of Nantucket. The word “attuck” in the Natick language means deer. His father was born in Africa. His name was Prince Yonger and he was brought to America as a slave.

Attucks was himself born a slave. But he was not afraid to actively seek his own (or others’) liberation. For example he escaped from his slave master and was the focus of an advertisement in a 1750 edition of the Boston Gazette in which a white landowner offered to pay 10 pounds for the return of a young runaway slave.

“Ran away from his Master, William Brown of Framingham, on the 30th of Sept. last, a Molatto Fellow, about 27 Year of age, named Crispas, 6 Feet two Inches high, short curl’d Hair…,”

Attucks was not going back though—he never did.  He spent the next two decades on trading ships and whaling vessels.

[…]

The story of Crispus Attucks is powerful. Native and black people have been facing the same tribulations and common enemies for a very long time.  For most of the time since white people have been on this continent, black folk and Native folk have had no choice but to work together and have.  If we look at statistics today—from expulsion/suspension from schools, to the blacks and Natives going to prison, to getting killed by law enforcement—not a lot has changed.  We still share very common narratives and need each other.

We still need to work together.

Click on over to Indian Country Media Network for the full article.

Arctic Hysteria.

A still from Arke’s 1996 video Arctic Hysteria shows the artist naked and crawling across a photograph of Nuugaarsuk Point in Greenland. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Acquired with funding from Anker Fonden 
Poul Buchard/Brøndum & Co.

A still from Arke’s 1996 video Arctic Hysteria shows the artist naked and crawling across a photograph of Nuugaarsuk Point in Greenland. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Acquired with funding from Anker Fonden 
Poul Buchard/Brøndum & Co.

Most people have never heard of Pia Arke, which is a shame, because she was an artist who took on one huge subject: the colonial takeover of indigenous peoples by those who termed themselves “explorers” and “discoverers”. There’s a great deal of horror inherent in any indigenous peoples experiences with colonialism. Unsurprisingly, indigenous women got the worst of it.

In the spring of 1995, Danish-Greenlandic artist Pia Arke was digging through the archives of New York City’s Explorers Club. She was searching for maps, ethnographic images, and scientific miscellany that she could repurpose into collages that confront Greenland’s colonial past. Arke knew early 20th-century adventurers often, by turns, demeaned and romanticized her Inuit ancestors. Even so, one photo from American explorer Robert E. Peary’s collection shocked her: a native woman, topless and screaming, restrained by two fur-clad and seemingly untroubled white men. A curator told Arke the woman could have been suffering from a madness called Arctic hysteria.

More than 20 years later, Arke’s mesmerizing film Arctic Hysteria, which she created the year after she found that dark photo, was looping endlessly in an alcove at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Situated in a small town along the Baltic Sea about 50 kilometers north of Copenhagen, the Louisiana Museum enjoys the kind of international acclaim that makes it a dream exhibit space for most artists. Arke’s work was part of last year’s star-studded exhibit Illumination, which featured such luminaries as Ai Weiwei, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, and Gerhard Richter. The flashiest Arke piece on display was Legende I-V, a series of five collages of Greenlandic maps and sepia-toned family snapshots layered with imported commodities such as rice, sugar, and coffee. Legende I-V is physically imposing—it dominated an entire gallery wall—and hauntingly beautiful. The foodstuffs function both symbolically and texturally, the photographs evoke the warmth of kinship, and the cartographic lines of Greenland, stamped with place names referencing colonial explorers (Peary Land, Humboldt Glacier, and Kane Bassin, for example), loom insistently over everyone.

Arke’s Arctic Hysteria is equally magnetic. The performance, which lasts six minutes, is silent and consists almost entirely of one scene: Arke crawling naked across a giant black-and-white photo of Nuugaarsuk Point, a spit of land at the terminus of a C-shaped bay. The artist lived there, outside the small town of Narsaq, Greenland, with her parents and siblings in the late 1960s. In the video, Arke strokes the artificial landscape, rolls across it, and sniffs it like an animal. Then she methodically rips the entire thing to shreds, gathers the curled shards of paper, and lets them fall across her shoulders and thighs. The intimacy of the performance and the title’s historical allusion are classic Arke.

[…]

Historical context points to alternative interpretations. Inuit women labored at the very bottom of the social hierarchy on Peary’s expeditions and in his camps, expected to sew, fish, carry wood, and submit to the Americans’ sexual desires. Peary, for example, fathered two sons with his Inuit laundress, Ahlikasingwah. His navigator, Robert Bartlett, viewed one woman’s hysteria as simple protest, or “pure cussedness.” Accounts described women who seemed intent on escape or dissent leaping over the ship’s railings or shouting for a knife. Expedition member Donald MacMillan recounted finding a woman named Inawaho naked and screaming, presumably unaware of her surroundings and out of her mind. But as soon as MacMillan pulled out his camera, Inawaho hurled huge chunks of ice at him and later begged him to destroy the photos. Were these women, in fact, crazy? Or were they reacting perfectly rationally—even bravely—to their circumstances?

You can read and see more here.

Right Now, Trump Is…

From a Native American's perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

From a Native American’s perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

Donald J. Trump has been called a lot of things. A bigot. A misogynist. A racist.

And I agree with these descriptions of the new president. He’s earned those titles, especially given all he has spewed over the decades about women and racial minorities, and just about anyone he disagrees with, or who disagree with him.

But Mr. Trump is also unoriginal.

Many of the controversial policies and plans he’s setting into motion have already been executed in this country.

Think about it.

Mr. Trump has vowed to evict millions of undocumented individuals. Brown folks, mostly.

But, of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a sitting U.S. president would forcibly and eagerly evict the indigenous peoples of this continent from their homes.

One of the first of such evictions in this country’s shady history occurred in the 19th century, back in 1830, when president Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which coercively extirpated thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.

The brutal act prompted the “Trail of Tears,” a vicious campaign that resulted in a forced westward march of men, women, and children through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. More than four thousand Native Americans died during that rotten trudge.

“But Mexicans aren’t Indians,” a white man recently said to me at an eatery on the north side of Denver, Colorado, during an impromptu discussion on Trump’s unoriginality.

[Read more…]