Weekend Reading and Upcoming Activities

Here are a few thought-provoking articles that have come through our Inbox. Two examine the backlash of Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of the term “Off the Reservation” and why it is problematic. Another looks at the backlash from a white artist’s use of Native American imagery in an upcoming local gallery show. There also is an upcoming talk by Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef, part of a fundraiser for the Department of Indian Work’s food shelf, a program of Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul.

“Off the Reservation”

As blogger Mark Charles sets it up, “On Friday April 29, in response to a CNN interview question regarding the expected political and personal attacks from Donald Trump in a general election, Hillary Clinton stated that she has experience dealing with men who sometimes get ‘off the reservation…'”

In his blog Wireless Hogan: A Native Response to Hillary Clinton’s “Off The Reservation” Comment, he writes:

“Off the reservation” is a term deeply rooted in the implicit racial bias of the United States of America. … When Natives are “on the reservation,” it is implied that we are contained, isolated, and controlled. When we go “off the reservation,” chaos ensues. We have gone rogue, act unpredictably, and are causing trouble.

Indian Country Today ran a column by Suzan Shown Harjo: Off the Reservation — A Teachable Moment that also discussed the issue:

The term “off the reservation” arose in the late-1800s, when Native Peoples were confined to reservations and when the federal “Civilization Regulations” criminalized everything that made Native Peoples Native. … Use of these words and terms do more than make us bristle. The very sounds they make reverberate through time and ancestors, and make us concerned for our grandchildren.

Note: Mark Charles will be in town Friday, May 13, to speak at Bethel College, 3900 Bethel Drive, Saint Paul, from 1:45 – 4 p.m., Room BC468. From 1:45-2:40 p.m. he will speak on the Doctrine of Discovery. From 2:50-4 p.m. he will speak about a Truth and Conciliation Commission. Here is the Facebook Post.

Art and Cultural Appropriation

We have written extensively about art in the Minnesota State Capitol and the false and mythologized stories it tells about Native Americans and early Minnesota history. This is a different kind of art-and-politics story, raising the issue of cultural appropriation.

Minnesota Public Radio’s piece: Gallery under fire over use of Native American imagery discusses an upcoming show by local artist Scott Seekins. It has 40 images exploring the Dakota-U.S. War. Seekins, who is white, inserted himself wearing his trademark white suit into one of the images. It got posted on Facebook and started criticism before the show even opened.

Artist and curator Dyani White Hawk (Lakota) talked about broader issues of cultural appropriation in the story: “It’s hurtful. It feels like yet one more time that something of value to our community and to our people is taken and used for personal gain in a long line of centuries of that happening in different forms.”

Empty Bowls
Enjoy a tasty bowl of soup with fresh baked bread from Hamline Church’s new bread oven. Stay for a talk at 6:30 pm by Sean Sherman, owner and CEO of The Sioux Chef, who will present on indigenous and traditionally cultivated food history, flavor, and culinary technique. Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for the Department of Indian Work food shelf. The event will be held on Thursday, May 26 from 5 – 7:30 pm at Hamline Church United Methodist, 1514 Englewood Avenue, Saint Paul. Tickets are $20 per adult and $5 per children 12 and under. You may pay with credit card online, or with cash or check at the door. Click here to purchase tickets



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