Self-Decolonization: On the Dakota Uprising

Self-Decolonization: On the Dakota Uprising
Terracotta, plaster, acrylic, cedar, maps
24” x 21”
This piece is a symbolic attack on an icon of imperialism—Abraham Lincoln, who presided over the largest mass execution in United States history—of 38 Dakota men who took part in the 1862 Dakota Uprising. It is a window into the past that revisits a hidden history of how this country came to be what it is and revises landscapes to reflect our ever-present ancestors. I am a descendant of survivors of genocide, ethnic cleansing, expulsion, relocation, and internment. My ancestors have asked me to revisit this painful past because there is healing that needs to be done and restitution that needs to be made to the Dakota people for the diaspora that was created when we were expelled from our place of origin and forbidden to return. Here, I explore the concept of blood money and subvert the ideals of American mythology while asking myself, “Who are my heroes?” This work is part of a series about Self-Decolonization. The act of creating works for this series is a potent vehicle for decolonizing my own mind and bringing sanity to my life. In learning the truth about my history and trying to make sense of my world, I seek to shed values that have been imposed on me and reclaim those that are my birthright.
Exhibited @
Native Now: Contemporary Arts of Today's Native American Artists, Duhesa Art Gallery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, 2014-2015
In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts Exhibit Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, Washington 2010 
B.E.S.T. of First Nations Blue Horse Gallery, Bellingham, Washington 2010

1 comment:

  1. Erin, the truth needs telling in so many ways... your art form addressing this act of genocide speaks volumes, its good you bring it back around to view from time to time . have a wonderful new year!