The curators are a group of young, energetic curators from distinct backgrounds and points of views. The artistic director Neville Wakefield is an art star known for his work in performance, site installations, and partnerships with fashion brands such as Supreme, Nike, and Calvin Klein. The biennial’s executive director, Jenny Gil, who is from Spain, formerly worked for Faena. The curator Amanda Hunt recently worked at the Studio Museum before joining MOCA. The LA-based writer and curator Matthew Schum was informed by his doctoral research on site-specific happenings, including the Istanbul Biennial. They have selected a broad group of artists of diverse nationalities, ages, and practices, supporting the conception, construction, and installation of each of the works. A budget of $25,000 or (much) more per work was offered by donors such as the Coachella Music Festival (which donated over $100,000) and electric car company Evelozcity. On 55 miles spread between the Wildland Park in the northwest and the Salton Sea in the southeast, the installations take the visitor on a road trip on a circuitous path of highways, windmill farms, gas stations, hot spring spas, residential compounds, and Modernist homes. The works will be up until April 21 and are accessible free of charge, alongside a series of performances and events.
Land Art is no longer a romantic and heroic gesture in the vastness of nature. It is by essence a political act.
History’s largest Native American art fraud case will come through the courts this year after multiple family businesses manufactured, imported, and falsely distributed Native American-style jewelry as genuine between 2010 and 2015. The trade value reached nearly $12 million across 300 shipments in five years — now, five men and two businesses are charged with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, importation by false or fraudulent practice, and failure to mark goods with their country of origin as required by customs law.
Congress passed the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) of 1990, to include the importation of knock-offs which undercut Native American economies and cultural heritage.
During the court hearing, Native American artist Liz Wallace said, “I don’t think calling this cultural appropriation is adequate. It’s economic colonization.”
A poetic short by Detroit-based director Keenan Wetzel, “Yellowtail” tells the story of a young Native American cowboy (Stephen Yellowtail) searching for purpose amidst a chaotic lifestyle. (previously featured here). Shot in Wyoming and the Crow Reservation in Montana, “Yellowtail” tells the story of a young Native American cowboy (Stephen Yellowtail) searching for purpose as his chaotic lifestyle begins
You will recognize that narrator’s voice – it is John Trudell!
In the News
The Navajo Nation and Utah Governor signed an inter-governmental agreement Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, to strengthen and further protect the Indian Child Welfare Act for the benefit of Navajo children in the State of Utah. Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer met with Governor Gary Herbert to make it official at the Utah State Capitol during the annual American Indian Caucus Day.
Let’s take a quick look at the erratic history of federal Indian policy.
In the early republic, the federal government made treaties of friendship with Indian tribes east of the Mississippi. In the 1830s, it stopped feeling friendly and removed the eastern Indians to the West. It set up reservations for eastern and western tribes and solemnly promised in treaties that the land would be theirs forever. In 1871, Congress decided there would be no more treaties, because Indian nations were no longer sovereigns; the courts soon confirmed that Congress could void any treaty without the consent of the tribes that had signed it. Next, from the 1880s until the 1930s, came the “allotment era.” The government decided to break up the reservations and “allot” much of the land to individuals, who could sell them. By the 1930s tribes had lost 60 percent of their previous land base. The New Deal was a brief respite: Allotment ended and tribes were allowed to re-form their governments. Then in 1953 came the “termination era,” when Congress decided that the federal government would no longer provide services to tribes, or deal with their governments. It sold off some tribes’ reservation lands and proclaimed that those tribes no longer existed.
University College London researchers estimate that settlers killed 56 million indigenous people, causing farmland to be reforested. That increase in vegetation resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
I call this the (his)story “We’re Not Supposed to Know”
But they conceal another side of Columbus: the exploitation and repression of Native Americans, said the Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. It is a “darker side of this story, a side we must acknowledge,” Jenkins said in a letter Sunday.
In December 2018, the Trump administration plotted to gut SNAP, the food assistance program more than 40 million Americans rely on to feed themselves. (I have friends and relatives on SNAP, what used to be food stamps). This attack on the poor would impose oppressive work requirements that will have a devastating impact on our nation’s most vulnerable and the “food insecure.” This rule will drive 755,000 poor folks deeper into poverty across the country over the next three years. It’s a cruel and cynical attempt to chip away at our social safety net by defining who is and who isn’t suffering in our nation. Read about the Poor People’s Campaign.
Food insecurity is very real and a war on the poor. And when the climate fails and disaster hits, what new countries start a new land grab? Will they hit Third World Countries? Indian Country? Will they take children to accomplish this again? History repeats itself over and over until we get it right…and so we are entering a dangerous new age of food insecurity… and climate change.
If I were in charge, I’d have two priorities: ending poverty and improving the existing infrastructure.
“I called the album Blue Indians because there is a kind of spiritual and cultural genocide perpetrated on everyone that is poor in this country,” Trudell said. “The advance of technology has put all of us on a kind of reservation. These are the people who can’t educate their children, or afford health care. They’ve been robbed of life, which is what happened to Native people, so in that context, we’re all Indians.”
I follow up in a few weeks with my doctors… See you soon! xox
“And Our Mothers Cried” vividly brings to life the Indian boarding school era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For several generations of Native American children, including some Chickasaws, attending boarding school meant separation from their families and indoctrination into a culture that wasn’t their own. The schools, which were guided by the infamous slogan, “Kill the Indian. Save the Man,” prohibited most students from speaking their own language and emphasized labor-intensive trades that would assimilate them into white culture through military-type institutions.
The documentary presents a stark contrast between these schools and schools established and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, which were designed to prepare Chickasaw children to compete in a rapidly changing world. “And Our Mothers Cried” presents compelling stories from some of the Chickasaw elders who lived through the boarding school era. Their experiences weave a complex story of sorrow and survival, but also one of hope and resilience from a time when tribal governments and culture were under attack.
On June 15, 2017, at its Mid‐Year Conference in Connecticut, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) adopted a resolution, sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation, encouraging American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, families, and descendants to provide information on children who never returned home from Indian Boarding Schools.
The information will be used for a submission to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID). This UN submission will be jointly filed by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The submission will call on the United States to provide a full accounting of the children taken into government custody under the U.S. Indian Boarding School Policy whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. NCAI represents 250 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes.
In the 1860s and 1870s, white settlers from the areas around Indian Territory — like Kansas and Texas — started to realize that there was vast piece of land in the middle of the United States that wasn’t claimed by anyone (ah, what?). They started agitating to to be allowed to seize this land for free. These white settlers even began a series of illegal raids into the territory, sneaking into Indian Territory at night to get to that little center portion of the Unassigned Lands.
Couch and his men had brought surveying equipment — and they quickly began laying out streets and lots as they had planned them in the months leading up to the Land Run. In the days following Oklahoma City’s rapid settlement, town leaders would have to reckon with all the cheating that had happened during the Land Run. Who cheated and who didn’t? Who deserve to keep their land and who didn’t?
The drama, executive produced by Clint Eastwood, is based on the late Richard Wagamese’s novel about an Ojibway residential school survivor and hockey player.
When Canadian director Stephen S. Campanelli showed his new film Indian Horse to his mentor, Clint Eastwood, the four-time Oscar winner was in disbelief.
In theatres Friday, the drama is based on late Canadian author Richard Wagamese’s acclaimed novel, about an Ojibway residential school survivor who faces racism and systemic barriers as he becomes a formidable hockey player.
The story gives an unvarnished look at the brutal history of the residential school system in Canada, and Eastwood was floored.
“He didn’t believe it,” Campanelli, who grew up in Montreal and lives in California, recalled in an interview at last September’s Toronto International Film Festival.
“He was like, ‘What? You Canadians did this?’ I said, ‘Yeah, believe it or not.’ He said, ‘How come no one knows about this?’ I said, ‘Well, they will soon.”‘
Eastwood then signed on as an executive producer to help promote the film.
Something interesting in going on in Canada’s parks in 02018:
Mohawk curator and scholar Lee-Ann Martin has participated in all of these modes of support in the past. But this summer, she is taking a very different approach—namely, putting the art of 50 Indigenous women artists on 167 billboards from coast to coast to coast.
Coast to coast to coast… 01 June 2018 – 01 August 2018… Interactive map and full website launch on 01 May 2018
How do you make the work of First Nations, Inuit and Métis women artists in Canada more visible? Some people write research papers. Some people build collections. Some people advocate for funding. Mohawk curator and scholar Lee-Ann Martin has participated in all of these modes of support in the past. But this summer, she is taking a very different approach—namely, putting the art of 50 Indigenous women artists on 167 billboards from coast to coast to coast.
“Having Indigenous women’s art writ large in public…along the country’s roadways and in urban centres” is vital, says Martin. “I really see the project as synonymous with Indigenous women’s work as defenders of the land,” she notes, with “the other, more practical intent [being] for people to realize the breadth, depth and diversity of Indigenous women’s art and how important it is today.”
A Complete List of the 50 Artists in “Resilience” : KC Adams, Kenojuak Ashevak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Rebecca Gloria-Jean Baird, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Christi Belcourt, Rebecca Belmore, Jaime Black, Lori Blondeau, Heather Campbell, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Lianne Marie, Leda Charlie, Hannah Claus, Dana Claxton, Ruth Cuthand, Dayna Danger, Patricia Deadman, Bonnie Devine, Rosalie Favell, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Lita Fontaine, Melissa General, Tanya Harnett, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Bev Koski, Nadya Kwandibens, Mary Longman, Amy Malbeuf, Teresa Marshall, Meryl McMaster, Caroline Monnet, Lisa Myers, Nadia Myre, Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, Marianne Nicolson, Shelley Niro, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Nigit’stil Norbert, Daphne Odjig, Jane Ash Poitras, Annie Pootoogook, Sherry Farrell Racette, Sonia Robertson, Pitaloosie Saila, Jessie Short, Skawennati, Jackie Traverse, Jennie Williams, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Gid7ahl-Gudsllaay Lalaxaaygans
Writing in all its forms is a scary act; it makes us vulnerable and exposes our softest parts to a world not known for its gentleness. But there’s magnificent power in that vulnerability, and it’s deserving of acknowledgment. And I’m filled with such deep joy each time another powerful voice joins the Indigenous literary world. I hope you’ll think of these words as an honoring and a hope for the important work you’re about to undertake.
In both Canada and the US the mainstream literary scene tends to hold up one or two Indigenous writers at a time, while leaving the rest to fend for themselves. It’s important to help one another, to uphold one another’s work, to celebrate successes and grieve losses, to engage in this beautiful struggle together.
I’m sure you have had enough of the political news (no joke) so I humbly attempt to bring you something new and different like the stunning billboards above. Of course there is lots going on, including more and more conspiracy theorists online, end days scares, A.I. has won (crapola), and what is up with all the mermaid stuff (dear god no no no). OK, some days I don’t even want to sit at a computer.
I do follow many many many blogs but I do want you to read Asshole Watching Movies and their latest coverage of SXSW: Isle of Dogs.
And just as the fighting was privatised, so too was the propaganda. In 2016, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that the Pentagon had paid around half a billion dollars to the British PR firm Bell Pottinger to deliver propaganda during the Iraq war. Bell Pottinger, famous for shaping Thatcher’s image, included among its clients Asma Al Assad, wife of the Syrian president. Part of their work was making fake Al Qaeda propaganda films. (The firm was forced to close last year because they made the mistake of deploying their tactics against white people). (No Joke!)
Excerpt: All of our well-publicized problems, including obesity, depression, pollution, and corruption are what it costs to create and sustain a trillion-dollar economy.
For the economy to be “healthy,” this world has to remain unhealthy.
(Read that again – for the economy to be healthy, the world has to remain unhealthy? WHAT the_?) (People have perfected marketing their services and telling us what we need …ie. big weddings, funerals, etc.)
…Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the public’s penchant to be frivolous with its spending, and in the documentary “The Corporation,” a marketing psychologist shows just how easy it is to increase sales by targeting nagging children, and the effect that nagging has on the parents’ spending.
Excerpt: …I arrive in a sparsely lit room where the Latvian artist Voldemārs Johansons’s “Thirst” (2015) is showing. A video of a stormy North Atlantic Ocean filmed in the Faroe Islands, the work is a single-shot visual capturing the sea in all its fury. Coupled with the waves’ frightening roars, the video truly envelops the visitor; it is threatening and immersive, drawing you in, spitting you out, relentlessly pulling and pushing. It is a powerful experience and I know my memory of it will endure. READ
TALK OF WORK WORK WORK and THE RAT RACE
By Lara Trace
Hungry Ghosts? …Nagging from media (esp. those horrible drug ads I mute or shut my eyes). The rat race reminds me of the book The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox which I still think about now, many years after reading it!
Time and Life is too short to be a hungry ghost, modern slave or in any rat race… In Fox’s book, “in four highly provocative chapters, Fox presents his ideas on the reinvention of work as related to family, politics, education, youth, health care, psychology, art, economics, business, and science. (Brilliant MAN!) As a critic of the old way of looking at the professions, he makes it clear that good work contributes to the extension of justice, compassion, and social transformation.” Read a book REVIEW
Are any US companies reinventing the 40-hour work week? Hardly. But do read this
Zappos is also turning traditional management on its head. They announced at their All Hands meeting in November 2014 that they are becoming a Holacracy. Holacratic organizations are organized in circles. Workers are members of several circles depending on what they are working on at the time. Decision authority is distributed throughout the organization, with everyone focused on the core purpose and strategy.
If you worked 30 hours or less each and every week, wouldn’t you be more productive, creative and rested? Wouldn’t you spend more time with your kids, friends and family? Wouldn’t you do more of what you love to do?
“…In the indigenous story, Earth is our Sacred Mother, a living being and the source of our birth and nurture. Her care is a sacred responsibility and cannot be compromised no matter how much money may be at stake. The significance of the indigenous perspective hit me full force when Karma Tshiteem, secretary of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Commission, summed up his presentation on Bhutan’s development philosophy with three words: “Time is life.”
[I was raised to believe that “Time is money.”] QUOTE SOURCE
I hope you seriously consider this for you and your life and your kids and how much time you allot for work and play.
My last salaried position, I worked 60+ hours, including weekends. (An earlier journalism job was pretty much the same.) I punched in at 8 am every weekday. We had two 15 min. breaks and a 30 minute lunch. I was salaried so I could leave work at 5 pm but the work often required more time, more hours and weekends. In my fifth year there, I consulted a therapist for stress-related issues (even a rash on my face!) The stress was affecting every aspect of my life, including my health (and my skin!). I had to make a choice, and I chose to leave.
Now I make my own hours for writing/editing/blogging so I will work when I have the good energy to do the work. I may work at midnite or all weekend. Some weeks, it’s 30 hours+ on book formatting and publishing other people’s books. I am doing blog consulting locally too. Charles and I are wrapping our academic writing on Dr. Thomas Augustus Bland, Red Cloud and Council Fire. Some afternoons I watch a movie or check out VIMEO (do watch Thirst). I often read blogs on weekends and usually Mondays. I blog in more than one place… BOOM! I often use Pinterest to inspire me as I write a fiction story about two elderly Oregon women I knew in Tillamook, particularly the one who rescues dogs.
I’m doing too much, says my hubby. “Make time for you. Shut off the media for awhile.” This is important. He’s right.
I’m taking time off social media, Facebook, Twitter, and not blogging …
I plan to single task (aka write the book about dogs). Two Worlds has been edited and will be republished as a second edition soon.
You will see me visiting your blogs (wouldn’t it be something to meet up in person!?) Your comments and blogs have meant much to me and you have given me many many things to think about and consider, so thank you!
(You can read the blogs I read (My Community) by clicking around in the sidebar.)
I admit I will struggle to be single-tasking (Over-work has been an addiction for too many years. Yes, I get a lot done but at what cost to my own brain?)
See you in the fall. (Yes, I’ll be taking months off)
You might want to do this, too. SERIOUSLY, give your brain a nice long break. I need more ocean, rocking chairs and books and long walks. You too?
VANCOUVER – On April 23, Vancouver will be the starting point for the pan-Canadian tour of Indigenous short films: “Wapikoni, Cinema on Wheels.” To celebrate this new adventure, Wapikoni Mobile and the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) are thrilled to present a special selection of 13 films made by young Indigenous filmmakers who have participated in Wapikoni’s filmmaking workshops. The choice of these works, with their unique stories, is aimed at discovering dynamic Indigenous voices and incredible talents coming straight from the communities.
The launch will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m. at Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre.
Members of our teams will be on site to answer your questions and our projection caravan will also be there.
“Through the project “Wapikoni from Coast to Coast: Building Bridges and Reconciliation through Media Arts,” young Indigenous Canadians will have the opportunity to be heard and to exchange ideas. The audiovisual and musical creative workshops will give young creators the chance to express themselves, and the resulting works will be presented in several communities across the country. Let’s take advantage of the 150th anniversary of Confederation to have a positive dialogue and to strengthen relations between us all,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
From April to November, a caravan equipped with exterior projection equipment and staffed by two facilitators will travel west to east, covering 10 Canadian provinces and stopping in 100 Indigenous communities and 50 cities. The screenings will be in English, French and Indigenous languages.
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World / Canada (Executive Producer: Tim Johnson, Mohawk) This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history—featuring some of the greatest music stars of our time—exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how Indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture. Category: WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Go on social media and not get somewhat depressed? Exactly! I watched Twitter instead of the Big Debate, for example. I want to gauge what others are thinking. My head still hurts. (Yelling out loud may help sometimes.)
Otherwise I cuddle up and read and crochet and do mosaic coloring so I keep very very calm. I know it’s theatrics and not politics.
Native Musician and AWARD WINNER JOSH HALVERSON (Lakota) SELECTS ALICIA KEYS AS HIS COACH ON NBC’S THE VOICE: Josh Halverson (Mdewakantonwan Sioux) who won the Songwriter of the Year Award at the Native American Music Awards in 2013 for his Cd, One Shot, earned a last minute three-chair turn during The Voice Blind Auditions as his wife and young son, Thunderbird, watched backstage. Josh, who is a cattle rancher from Texas performed a haunting version of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”. Once Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, and Blake Sheldon hit their buttons, they all turned around to fight for Halverson. Although Blake brought out his best cattle talk, Halverson chose to join Team Alicia. [www.NAMALIVE.com] I don’t watch the VOICE but I love Josh.
A notorious example: NY city planner Robert Moses designed a number of Long Island Parkway overpasses to be so low that buses could not drive under them. This effectively blocked Long Island from the poor and people of color who tend to rely more heavily on public transportation. And the low bridges continue to wreak havoc in other ways: 64 collisions were recorded in 2014 alone (here’s a bad one). READ HERE
Joseph Blue Crow discovers why he has spent his life in the shadow of the raven. And now, for the first time, he feels able to walk the good red road. He will dedicate his life to recording the personal stories of the descendants of the Lakota people who died at Wounded Knee. In the light of truth, he says, may all heal. (I’m finishing up THE ROCK CHILD by Win Blevins now)
At the opening night Colorado Avenue feed (in September), director Werner Herzog checked out the Mongol father and daughter holding their trained eagles on their arms for a photo op (top photo). Sony Pictures Classics is pushing the movie for a documentary Oscar. Director Otto Bell told me his crew carried so much gear up into the Altai Mountains to shoot “The Eagle Huntress” (opening October 28), a powerful female empowerment doc about the first woman to compete with her eagle in her local village’s annual contest, that they had to leave some heavy pieces behind due to prohibitive weight overages.
Teenage ‘Eagle Huntress’ Overturns 2,000 Years Of Male Tradition READ HERE
Aisholpan’s family members are nomadic Kazakh herders of the Altai mountains region who base their subsistence economy on herding cattle and goats. An essential supplement to the herders’ livelihood comes from the practice of training golden-eagle chicks to become their close partners in the hunting of foxes and other small mammals used for food and clothing.
This specialized hunting practice — woven into the fabric of everyday life and celebrated at regional competitions — has been an entirely male endeavor throughout its history, passed down in families from generation to generation.
Now, just as climate change threatens this way of life and as only 250 eagle hunters remain in Mongolia, Aisholpan is coming to the world’s attention as the first woman eagle huntress.
BIG WEEK: Wisconsin is just one of several states to pass voting restrictions in the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Another set of laws was shut down in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin ruling came after a decision earlier on Friday from a federal appeals court striking down North Carolina’s omnibus voter suppression law, which had been called the worst voter suppression law in the nation. On July 20th, Texas’s Voter ID law also fell, in a surprise decision from a conservative court finding that the law violated the Voting Rights Act. READ HERE
In 2012 Yasmin Mistry, an Emmy-nominated animator and Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in state care, launched Foster Care Film to give foster youth an opportunity to share their stories. Mistry’s subsequent films investigate less-explored obstacles and situations related to foster care. Her latest, My Identity, is an 11-minute documentary that explores kinship care (the care of children by relatives), the longing to belong and the importance of sibling bonds.
My Identity is the story of Ashley Wolford, a woman born to a mixed white and Native American mother. Ashley knows nothing of her biological father, and at a young age Ashley and her half-brother are placed in separate homes after it is discovered that their drug-and-alcohol addicted mother abandons them for stretches of time.
In their later years, Ashley discovers and converts to Islam while at the same time her brother joins the military and serves two tours in Afghanistan fighting Muslims. Their ideological differences drive a wedge in their relationship. READ MORE
Russian Hacks? … hundreds of Russians in a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, …produced blog posts, comments, infographics, and viral videos that pushed the Kremlin’s narrative on both the Russian and English Internet. [This is sadly becoming a recurring theme… Lara]
(top photo) Hailed Chief of Chiefs, David Bald Eagle, Lakota Chief, Musician, Cowboy And Actor, Dies At 97
And at the age of 95, he had his first lead role, after all those years as a stunt double: He starred in the independent film Neither Wolf Nor Dog.
“When white people won it was a victory, when Natives won it was a massacre. When they fought for freedom it was a revolution, when we fought for freedom it was an uprising. No Indian alive dares to think too much about the past. The bones of our people are crying.”