I'll buy breakfast for the first one to find the original this one was copied from.
I wouldn't know where to begin to know where to look!
I am just a thread starter, not a researcher.......
Churchill is in big trouble. Have to get this to News 4 Colorado ASAP!
Note: Not a direct link.
American Indian Art and Artists
In Search of a Definition
By Ward Churchill
"Your images are interesting, even beautiful. But I'm afraid I
could never buy one because they're too modernistic to be really
Indian." Non-Indian woman observing the author's images during solo
exhibition at the Institute for American Indian Arts Museum - Santa
Fe, New Mexico, 1982. "Your work is too traditionally-orientated to
sell here. We deal in contemporary art." Representative of the
Elaine Horowitz Gallery to the author during the same show - Santa
Fe, New Mexico, 1982. The phrase, American Indian art, immediately
presents me with a problem because we are dealing with a basic
misnomer. "Art", like "philosophy" and "religion", is not an
American Indian concept. It is a notion and category of activity
imported from Europe right along with the horse, firearms, trade
beads and smallpox. In this sense, contemporary efforts to define
what is traditional American Indian art and who are legitimate
American Indian are more than passingly absurd.
At this point, we find the stylistic restrictions that once
served to constrict the development of modern Indian art supplanted
by other mechanisms. And, after the fashion of advanced colonial
systems everywhere, the dominator has duped the dominated into
using such devices against themselves. The most glaring example is
a group in Santa Fe, New Mexico, headed by painter David Bradley,
who insist that no one lacking a certain amount of Indian blood or
possessing a federally-issued certification of his/her Indian-ness
id entitled to be described as an American Indian artist.
Regarding the first point, I would say that application of a
"blood quantum" standard to identification of a people amounts to
adoption of a eugenics code no different in principle from that
used by the Nazis against the Jews, the Afrikaners against blacks
and "coloreds" in South Africa, or by the Israelis against
Palestinian Arabs. Blood quantum in any guise is a virulently
racist proposition and deserves to treated as such.
As to the U.S. government certification of tribal membership, it
is an absolute denial of American Indian national sovereignty, just
as if the U.S. were to begin to stipulate who is and who is not to
be considered a member/citizen of France or Belgium. Definition of
it's own membership or citizenry is the INTERNAL PEROGATIVE of ANY
sovereign nation. No nation has the right to impose upon another
the definition of its citizenry as the U.S. has historically done
to Native Americans. The present demands of the Bradley group -
designed to improve their own "take" in market proceeds - obviously
leads directly AWAY from the exercise of indigenous sovereignty in
North America. Correspondingly, they retreat from the needs and
emergent realities of Indian life and thence from any vestige of
traditional aesthetic function.
It matters little to me what pedigree is held by any Indian
artist. Still less am I concerned with the success evident in their
sales records. What DOES count is the extent to which their art
informs and reinforces the contemporary American Indian struggle to
regain the standard of dignity and self-sufficiency once enjoyed by
all peoples indigenous to thos hemisphere. To this extent, Indian
art can never be a formal artistic or aesthetic proposition. To the
contrary, it MUST be an inherently political, spiritual and
socially activist process. This is the spirit which guides my own
production of objects, and the standard by which I measure my own
success or failure. For me, nothing else is, or could be, truly