News Round-Up: ‘Scaffold’ Sculpture Wood to be Buried; Indian Country Today Ceases Operations; and More

“Scaffold’ before it was taken down.

The wood from the controversial sculpture ‘Scaffold‘ will be buried, not burned, local Native leaders say. Several news outlets have provided accounts, including MPR and the StarTribune. According to the MPR story:

Tribal elders decided the original plan to destroy the work in a ceremonial fire at Fort Snelling was inappropriate, said Ronald P. Leith, a Dakota member who was involved in negotiations …

The Walker Art Center erected Scaffold earlier this year, a new addition for the reopening of its renowned outdoor sculpture garden. The work was supposed to be a commentary on capital punishment, a conglomeration of several historic gallows. But the sculpture’s most prominent feature was the massive gallows used to hang 38 Dakota men in Mankato following the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862.

Native people found Scaffold offensive and hurtful, as the hanging of the Dakota 38 (plus 2 additional hangings later at Fort Snelling) continues to be a deeply painful part of their history. A white artist did the piece and Dakota people weren’t consulted. Following the controversy, the Walker agreed to remove the sculpture.

The wood will be buried in an undisclosed location, a decision which reflects the issues that arose following the mass hanging.

“During 1862, when the original scaffold was dismantled and the prisoners were buried … there was a deluge of scavengers, grave diggers, that went after the wood — souvenir, hunter types,” said Leith. “We have a concern that if we were to disclose where the wood was going, we might see a repeat of that same thing.”

Indian Country Today Ceases Active Operations; Highlighting Article: ‘Six Works of Art That Shaped America’s View of Natives’

Sad to report that Indian Country Today today released a story that it is ceasing operations. According to the story:

We wanted to generate award-winning journalism that gives voice to Indigenous Peoples, wherever they lived, to the widest possible audience. That investment has succeeded beyond our expectations. …

For all of that success, however, ICTMN has faced the same challenges that other media outlets have faced. It is no secret that with the rise of the Internet, traditional publishing outlets have faced unprecedented adversity. These economic headwinds have resulted in ICTMN operating at an enormous—and unsustainable—financial loss …

This blog has relied on Indian Country Today Media Network as a valuable source of information. As a recent example, here is a story that ran Sept. 1 that continues to shine a light on the myths and stereotypes about Native Americans portrayed in famous paintings.

Death of Wolf, image from Wikipedia.

The story was titled: Propaganda: 6 Works of Art That Shaped America’s View of Natives — Not just art, these pieces represent artistic propaganda that had huge impacts on America’s views of Natives.

It starts with the Death of Wolf (1770) by Benjamin West, which depicts Major-General James Wolfe mortally wounded near Quebec as a stoic Native looks on.

American Progress (1872). Image by Wikipedia:

It ends with the the 1872 painting American Progress by John Gast, perhaps the most famous image of Manifest Destiny, with angels guiding settlers westward as Native people flee.

Click on the link above to get the full story.

We hope Indian Country Today Media Network finds a viable business model and can bounce back.

Queensland, Australia Removes Racially Offensive Place Names

Queensland, Australia is removing a number of racially offensive place names, according to several media outlets. As one example, it is eliminating the use the N-word in place names, such as N***** Creek, according to a story in the Brisbane Times.

There also are efforts to replace names offensive to aboriginal peoples, the New York Times reported:

In May, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center, a government-funded group that advocates on behalf of Aboriginal communities, announced that it was seeking to have 11 traditional place names, including Victory Hill, Suicide Bay and Cape Grim, stricken from the record. Those names, the group said, were offensive because they referred to massacres of Indigenous people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s