Walker Art Center Seeks Proposals from Indigenous Artists for New Sculpture Garden Work

The Walker Art Center has issued a Call to Indigenous Artists to submit proposals for a new work for the Sculpture Garden. This follows the 2017 controversy over Scaffold, a sculpture that triggered strong protests from the Dakota, Minnesota’s original peoples. Continue reading

Report: Indigenous Genocide Led to Climate Change

Columbus’ arrival started the genocide of indigenous peoples.

A new report says that the “Little Ice Age” that occurred in the 1600s resulted from the Native American genocide that followed Christopher Columbus and the arrival of European settlers, according a story published by CNN today.

European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study.

Carbon levels changed enough to cool the Earth by 1610, researchers found.

Click on the link for more details. Here’s another version from the BBC. Continue reading

Trump’s Indifference to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Belies His Argument to ‘Build a Wall’

The media has rightly criticized President Donald Trump for making up stories to justify his border wall. In addition, it should point out that Trump’s a hypocrite.

Trump has repeatedly told terrifying stories of women being trafficked across the Mexican border into the United States. Yet his administration has yet to provide facts to back him up. And while Trump expresses this deep concern about human trafficking, his administration has actively worked against efforts to address it here in the United States, specifically the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).

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Notre Dame Covers Controversial Murals, Ramsey County Courthouse Should Follow Its Lead

A quick update on how other communities are dealing with controversial public art: The University of Notre Dame has announced it will cover controversial Columbus murals, according to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine. It begins:

For more than 130 years, 12 towering murals depicting Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas have flanked a hallway in the University of Notre Dame’s Main Building. But late last week, the university announced that it plans to cover the murals; in a letter explaining the decision, Notre Dame’s president described the artworks as memorializing “a catastrophe” for indigenous peoples.

This is part of a national conversation about public art. St. Paul could learn from Notre Dame’s example.

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Sandmann, Trump, and the Aversion to Apologies

It’s difficult to keep up with the roiling fallout from the standoff between high schooler Nick Sandmann and Native elder Nathan Phillips near the Lincoln Memorial last Friday.

We need to take a collective breath, peal away the perceived complexity of the story, and get down to a basic question: Why is it so hard to apologize? Continue reading

Trying to Make Sense of Nathan Phillips’ Saga

Trump Fans the Culture Wars Over an Encounter Between a Native Man and a Group of Teenagers, Calling Reports ‘Fake News.’ Whatever Happened to ‘Turn the Other Cheek’?

I’m trying to make sense of the senseless act of disrespect and intimidation that happened during Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C.

By now, you’ve probably seen the video. It involves a group of mostly white teens from the all-male Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky and Nathan Phillips, a Native and a veteran. The youth were in D.C. for the anti-abortion March for Life rally; Phillips was there to take part in the Indigenous Peoples March. Both marches ended near the Lincoln Memorial.

As you see on the video, Phillips is surrounded by youth. He keeps playing his drum and singing. One youth in particular, junior Nick Sandmann, seems to block his path and smirk. The video created a national controversy and criticism of the school and the youth. Continue reading

Change is Coming to Racist Murals in St. Paul City Hall and You Can Play a Role

Task Force Volunteers Sought to Help Select Artists for New Installations in Chambers Used by the City Council and Ramsey County Commission

Four large murals in St. Paul City Hall depict white supremacy and Manifest Destiny, creating an unwelcoming space for many citizens who come there to speak to their elected council members and county commissioners. The Ramsey County Historical Society is creating a task force of community members to select and guide local artists in creating new art that will cover two of the four murals at any one time.

Advocacy still is needed to convince local leaders that all four murals should be moved to a different location, such as a museum. Still, there is a great opportunity for people to help select the new art. The Historical Society is seeking task force applicants, according to a recent posting on the Historical Society website. Chad Roberts, President of the Ramsey County Historical Society, will chair the 11-member group.

Here is the online application process.

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