Not Surprisingly, Native Voices Held Little Sway in Capitol Art Debate

Native Americans get in a Catch-22 when they are asked to participate in controversial political debates with outside governments. If they don’t participate, they can be criticized for not taking advantage of the process available to them. If they do participate, the powers-that-be can check the box that says “Talked to the Indians.” That gives the final recommendations a little more credibility because the Native Americans were consulted (even though it didn’t have an impact).

For a case study, let’s look at the debate over Minnesota Capitol art.

On Friday, June 17, the Art Subcommittee met for the last time before presenting its final recommendations to the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission. Let’s recap the critical issues of how Native voices were engaged and whether they affected the outcomes. Continue reading

Art Subcommittee Begins to Show Cards: Hopes to Remove Offensive Art Dim

The Art Subcommittee reviewing art in the Minnesota State Capitol is beginning to flesh out what it considers to be its “low hanging fruit” recommendations, including plans to have all four Civil War painting remain in the Governor’s Reception Room.

At the Jan. 11 meeting, there did not appear to be strong support to remove any of the controversial art from the building. There was some openness to relocating art within the Capitol, including the Governor’s Reception Room paintings of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and Father Hennepin Discovering the Falls at St. Anthony. Continue reading