Replica of Native Execution Device Is Not Art!

“The Walker Art Center has postponed the opening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden until 10 June following protests from Native American groups surrounding a work by the artist Sam Durant that references US state-sanctioned hangings. Among the historic gallows recreated in Durant’s wooden sculpture Scaffold (2012) is one used in 1862 to hang 38 Dakota men executed by the US Army in Mankato, Minnesota.” H. Stoilas, The Art Newspaper

Durant’s recreation of hanging scaffold used on Natives in 1862.

Excerpt: Walker Art Center postpones opening of sculpture park after Native American protests

“The work will probably be dismantled after a meeting between the artist, the museum and Dakota elders on Wednesday. Announced in January 2016 as one of the 16 new works acquired for the park’s reopening this June, Scaffold was originally commissioned and shown at Documenta in Kassel in 2012.

Photo- MPR news

[according to a  press release statement] ‘With the death penalty as its focus, Scaffold opens a discussion around criminal law and the politics of incarceration—themes which continue to resonate today.’

On Thursday 25 May, the Walker’s director Olga Viso wrote about the new acquisitions, including Scaffold on a blog post on the museum’s website. This prompted an outcry from Minnesota’s Native American community, over its use of a traumatic symbol of brutality against the Dakota people, the museum’s failure to consult tribal leaders in its acquisition and installation, and the fact that the work was made by a white artist.

Protest signs against scaffold. photo- The Art Newspaper

Signs posted on the fence surrounding the park said ‘Not your story’ and ‘$200 for scalp of artist’.  Both Durant and Viso released statements apologizing for the hurt caused to the community and offering the dismantle the piece.


‘It has been my belief that white artists need to address issues of white supremacy and its institutional manifestations. Whites created the concept of race and have used it to maintain dominance for centuries, whites must be involved in its dismantling,’ Durant said. ‘However, your protests have shown me that I made a grave miscalculation in how my work can be received by those in a particular community.’ Viso said: ‘As director of the Walker, I regret that I did not better anticipate how the work would be received in Minnesota, especially by Native audiences.”

Category: Social

Buffy Sainte-Marie and Inuk Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq Deliver New Song

“Two powerhouses of Canada’s indigenous music scene have lifted the curtain on a new collaboration.Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tanya Tagaq paired for the track ‘You Got To Run (Spirit Of The Wind)’…Sainte-Marie wrote the song about Alaskan dog sled racer George Attla who placed fourth in the inaugural Iditarod in 1973.” Canadian Press

St. Marie (l) and Tagaq (r)


Excerpt:  Buffy Sainte-Marie delivers new song collaboration with Tanya Tagaq

“The singers joined together as part of a series of collaborations organized by the brain trust behind the Polaris Music Prize. Both Sainte-Marie and Tagaq are former Polaris winners. Sainte-Marie grabbed the 2015 award for ‘Power in the Blood’ while *throat singer Tagaq’s album ‘Animism’ won a year earlier.

Buffy St. Marie

Tanya Tagaq

Tagaq says the song’s theme suggests ‘you can’t let things bring you down,’ which she says could also be interpreted as an anti-suicide message. Canada’s indigenous communities have been wracked by youth suicides amid calls for action to address the crisis.”

*Inuit throat singing, or katajjaq, is a form of musical performance uniquely found among the Inuit. (An analogous form called rekuhkara was once practiced among the Ainu of Hokkaidō, Japan.) The Inuit performers are traditionally women who sing only duets in a kind of entertaining contest to see who can outlast the other, although one of the genre’s most famous performers, Tanya Tagaq, performs as a solo artist. Several groups, including Tudjaat, The Jerry Cans, Quantum Tangle and Silla + Rise, also blend traditional throat singing with mainstream musical genres such as pop, folk and dance music. -Wikipedia-

To the Men and Women: Memorial Day May 29 2017

Category: Culture

Native Author Joy Harjo Wins The Prize…Again!

“Today, we are excited to announce Joy Harjo has been awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement and contribution to the art of poetry. Of Harjo’s poetry, Don Share remarks: “Her work is a thrilling and necessary antidote to false news, the ephemera of digital celebrity, and other derelictions. It pushes vigorously back against forgetfulness, injustice, and negligence at every level of contemporary life. ” H. Staff, Poetry Foundation

Joy Harjo

Excerpt: Joy Harjo Awarded 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, by Harriet Staff, The Poetry Foundation

“Presented annually to a living US poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant singular recognition, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets. At $100,000, it is also one of the nation’s largest literary prizes. Established in 1986, the prize is sponsored and administered by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It will be presented at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on Monday, June 12th.

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She earned her BA from the University of New Mexico and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop…Her work draws on Native American storytelling and histories, as well as feminist and social justice poetic traditions, and frequently incorporates indigenous myths, symbols, and values into her writing. Harjo’s many honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. Harjo is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.”

One of Harjo’s best known and loved poems She Had Some Horses was first published in 1983 and is now considered a classic.

She Had Some Horses By Joy Harjo

She had some horses.

She had horses who were bodies of sand.

She had horses who were maps drawn of blood.

She had horses who were skins of ocean water.

She had horses who were the blue air of the sky.

She had horses who were fur and teeth.

She had horses who were clay and would break.

She had horses who were splintered red cliff.


She had some horses.

She had horses with eyes of trains.

She had horses with full, brown thighs.

She had horses who laughed too much.

She had horses who threw rocks at glass houses.

She had horses who licked razor blades.

She had some horses

She had horses who danced in their mothers’ arms.

She had horses who thought they were the sun and their

bodies shown and burned like stars.

She had horses who waltzed nightly on the moon.

She had horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet

in stalls of their own making.

She had some horses.

She had horses who liked Creek Stomp Dance songs.

She had horses who cried in their beer.

She had horses who spit at male queens who made

them afraid of themselves.

She had horses who said they weren’t afraid.

She had horses who lied.

She had horses who told the truth, who were stripped

bare of their tongues.

She had some horses.

She had horses who called themselves, “horse.”

She had horses who called themselves, “spirit,” and kept

their voices secret and to themselves.

She had horses who had no names.

She had horses who had books of names.

Animal digestion

She had some horses.

She had horses who whispered in the dark, who were afraid to speak.

She had horses who screamed out of fear of the silence, who

carried knives to protect themselves from ghosts.

She had horses who waited for destruction.

She had horses who waited for resurrection.

She had some horses.

She had horses who got down on their knees for any saviour.

She had horses who thought their high price had saved them.

She had horses who tried to save her, who climbed in her

bed at night and prayed.

She had some horses

She had some horses she loved.

She had some horses she hated.

These were the same horses.

Category: Culture

Native Super Moms!

“Among the many tribes of Native Americans throughout North America there were many different roles for the Native American women. The roles of many Native American women were very important to every Indian tribe.” Native Net

‘Super Native Woman’ design by Jared Yazzie and OXDX Clothing

Excerpt: Native American Women, Native Net

“Women are important to any society since they are the bearers of children, but to Native American tribes the women had many other very important responsibilities.

Native women cooking on open fire

Among some American Indian tribes the women would make many of the weapons that were used for hunting and war, and also built the homes they lived in, gathered firewood, as well as herbs for medicine, and nuts and berries for food.

Native arts

Native American women are the ones that made the crafts that have become very popular forms of art worldwide. Some of the crafts they are known most for are the hand woven and quilted blankets, colorful beaded necklaces, handmade and painted pottery.

Native American Women Warriors

No matter what tribe you are referring to, the women were always very important and had many different roles for the survival of the tribe.”


Yakama Native American Mother and Child

Category: Social

Meet The New Baby Bison!

“A bison calf has been born on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation for the first time in 130 years.”Casper Star Tribune

The first wild bison calf in 130 years. Billings Gazette

Excerpt: First bison born on Wyoming reservation in 130 years — Casper Star Tribune

“The Casper Star-Tribune reports the baby bison was born Wednesday into a herd of 10 animals reintroduced to the reservation last fall.

Jason Baldes with the Eastern Shoshone tribe says the bison calf is ‘an honor bestowed upon us by the Creator.’ White settlers nearly eradicated bison from the West in the 19th century.”

Do You Know the Difference Between Buffalo and Bison?

“It’s easy to understand why people confuse bison and buffalo. Both are large, horned, oxlike animals of the Bovidae family. There are two kinds of bison, the American bison and the European bison, and two forms of buffalo, water buffalo and Cape buffalo. However, it’s not difficult to distinguish between them, especially if you focus on the three H’s: home, hump, and horns.

From top to bottom: A bison, an Asian water buffalo, and an African Cape buffalo.

Contrary to the song “Home on the Range,” buffalo do not roam in the American West. Instead, they are indigenous to South Asia (water buffalo) and Africa (Cape buffalo), while bison are found in North America and parts of Europe. Despite being a misnomer—one often attributed to confused explorers—buffalo remains commonly used when referring to American bison, thus adding to the confusion.

Another major difference is the presence of a hump. Bison have one at the shoulders while buffalo don’t. The hump allows the bison’s head to function as a plow, sweeping away drifts of snow in the winter. The next telltale sign concerns the horns. Buffalo tend to have large horns—some have reached more than 6 feet (1.8 meters)—with very pronounced arcs. The horns of bison, however, are much shorter and sharper. And, if you want to throw a B into the mix, you can check for a beard. Bison are the hipsters of the two animals, sporting thick beards. Buffalo are beardless.”

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Category: Animals | Tags:

The Zuni Pueblo Main Street Festival Coming in May!

“Dowa Yalanne Mesa also referred to as “Corn Mesa” is a sacred site that overlooks Zuni Pueblo and has been a place of necessary refuge for the Zuni People since time immemorial.It sits rather off the beaten track. There are no glitzy casinos to attract folks. It’s not near any big population center. But Zuni Pueblo is doing what it can to highlight what it has, and much of that will be on display May 6-7 for the Zuni Pueblo MainStreet Festival.” G. Rosales, AlbuquerqueJournal

Dowa Yalanne Mesa

“The fifth annual fair is a celebration of our local businesses and local artists, giving appreciation for everything they do collaboratively to sustain our local economy, said Wells Mahkee Jr., Zuni Pueblo MainStreet manager. ‘We’re celebrating our community and culture.’It’s a celebration open to all comers and includes such entertainment as a carnival with rides and games, and a showcase of the many artisans from the pueblo.

‘We’re going to have an arts market with the local vendors set up and local arts and crafts,’ Mahkee said. ‘We’ll have a wide variety of artists that will have their arts and crafts for sale so you can buy directly from the artist. You know what you’re getting. You’ll be getting quality work, and you get to meet the artists, which is something not many communities can say.’ One of the big highlights of Saturday’s event will be traditional Zuni dances, he said.

Native Zuni dances.

‘They’ll be social dances, and I know one group will be doing the buffalo dance, the corn dance, the turkey dance and the butterfly dance,’  Mahkee said.

Then there will be what is sure to be a crowd favorite as the local Head Start program will do a series of dances, he said.

Several art competitions also will be on tap, with a juried show in which five judges will be rating the artwork in categories from jewelry, paintings, textile, pottery and carvings, with the work on display throughout the weekend.

And in another competition, artists will be challenged to stretch their creativity by using recycled material provided by the Zuni Environmental Program.”

For more information Zuni Pueblo MainStreet Festival May 6-7

Category: Culture