Breaking News: Land Art at Desert X | Frontline: Predator | 12M Fakes

This week, the second edition of the biennial opened under the dual themes of politics and poetics, with works that engaged with environmental catastrophes, mass migration, Indigenous rights, and architectural and industrial colonization.

 

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.

Big Read: The Land Art at Desert X Confronts Borders and Politics on Indigenous Territory

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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.”

Source: World’s Largest Native American Art Forgery Ring Distributed $12M of Fakes

What you don’t know can hurt you: Forced Sterilizations history

trail of tears
Trail of Tears

By Lara/Trace

This is a short post for me.

This is the excerpt.

Forced Sterilization of Native Americans: Late Twentieth Century Physician Cooperation with National Eugenic Policies

 

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Many consider the plight of Native Americans an archetypal genocide. Centuries ago, the British suggested the response to their presence should be “extermination.”[i] Their soldiers then proceeded to knowingly decimate them with smallpox—a virus to which Native Americans had no immunity. Additional efforts over centuries to eradicate their population would follow. There would be a “Trail of Tears,” lethal attacks on Nez Perce men, women, and children to acquire their ancestral homeland, and a massacre at Wounded Knee—to name merely a few. The protracted policy directed against the United States of America’s indigenous peoples represented misguided governments, widespread greed, and enforcement by an at times ruthless, undisciplined military. A recent, albeit weakly publicized, continuation of this policy has been played out in a bioethical arena. Indeed, after the Nuremberg Trials and an explicit international consensus, this would be considered anathema. On view is the evil of forced abortions and sterilizations. This two-pronged approach to knowingly limit births in selected populations was emblematic of eugenic policy in the early to mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, eugenic birth control had been resuscitated as late as the 1970s through voluntary physician complicity with an immoral national eugenic policy.

When she was 20 years old, a Native American woman underwent a total hysterectomy by an Indian Health Service (IHS) physician for unconvincing indications.[ii] Her experience came to light when she visited Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri, a physician of Native American heritage in the 1970s. Two other young women in Montana needed appendectomies and also received “incidental” tubal ligations. Were these merely aberrations or the first examples of a disturbing pattern? Bureau of Census Reports explicitly documented a steep decline in childbirth for diverse Native American tribes comparing birth numbers from 1960 through 1980.[iii] The three examples were, unfortunately, merely the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest here (see footnotes)

 

Ghastly history? Indeed! I am too sad to comment…Lara

“How Much Have We Spent on Native Americans?”

Slate Vault: 1894 Federal Report —rePosted from Turtle Talk

Here:

CostsOfIndiansFinal2.jpg.CROP.original-original

The 693 page report is here.

By Lara/Trace,

This report is interesting to see how America’s “land grab” was progressing. Taking land was how they built their war chest to wage more war against Indians! These government guys thought they were so clever.

It was in December 1890 that the final Indian War (really a massacre) was waged in Wounded Knee. By then over 400 peace treaties were signed with promises made to care for Indian people sent to reservations. Many actually starved, froze or were killed by germ warfare using smallpox in blankets. No one really expected Indian people to survive.

Native Americans, still the most impoverished people in North America, still live under Third World conditions, long after we gave up traditional ways of subsistence (hunting and gathering) to move to “grass prisons.”  We then became wards of these governments. We received parcels of waste land. They promised food rations and commodities as welfare, to assimilate us they promised education and to protect our health they established Indian Health Services (IHS). All of this is dictated and managed by the BIA or Bureau of Indian Affairs – once part of the War Department of the United States.

[WIKIPEDIA: First called the Office of Indian Affairs, the agency was created as a division in 1824 within the War Department. In 1832 Congress established the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In 1849 Indian Affairs was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The bureau was renamed as BIA, Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1947.]

The loss of land, life and culture is not something we could ever measure in monetary terms.  It will not be possible to repay these losses with money. Sovereignty, dealing directly with the federal government as a sovereign tribal nation, is another matter entirely. Indians won in the Cobell lawsuit and will be repaid milllions of dollars this year. Some tribes are already buying up lands lost in bad treaties.

Until all our tribal nations rebuild our distinct communities separate from the colonizer, and include citizens we choose and recognize, and dispel the blood quantum requirements, we will be the wards of this colonizer.

If we don’t rebuild on our terms, eventually Indians will disappear (at least on paper.)

Wiki: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of 55,700,000 acres of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs is one of two bureaus under the jurisdiction of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs: the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which provides education services to approximately 48,000 Native Americans. The BIA’s responsibilities once included providing health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. In 1954 that function was legislatively transferred to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, now known as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where it has remained to this day as the Indian Health Service.