April 6, 2016 by: Natalie Fleming
Image: Jolene Rickard, Fight For The Line, 2012, Installation, media projection and metal sign
Re-Riding History: From the Southern Plains to the Matanzas Bay
March 31st – May 6th
Exhibition Reception: April 14th, 5-8PM
5:30PM Curatorial Remarks – Emily Arthur & Marwin Begaye
6:00PM Lecture – Apology or Reconciliation? The Boarding School Legacy and Native Americans
by Dr. Jolene Rickard and Ruchatneet Printup
University at Buffalo Department of Art Gallery
B45 Center for the Arts, University at Buffalo, North Campus
The University at Buffalo Department of Art is pleased to announce the exhibition Re-Riding History: From the Southern Plains to the Matanzas Bay. Curated by Emily Arthur, Marwin Begaye and John Hitchcock, the exhibition opens to the public on March 31st and will be on view through May 6th, 2016.
Related programs include an exhibition reception on Thursday, April 14th, from 5-8PM. Emily Arthur (Descendant, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Marwin Begaye (Diné, Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma) will give curatorial remarks at 5:30PM, followed by a lecture by Dr. Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora, Associate Professor & Director of the American Indian Program, Cornell University) and Ruchatneet Printup (Tuscarora, Co-Producer of Unseen Tears: The Impact of Native American Residential Boarding Schools in Western New York) entitled Apology or Reconciliation? The Boarding School Legacy and Native Americans.
On Saturday, April 16th, the Department of Art will host the 12th Annual Indigenous and American Studies Storytellers Conference. This year’s theme, “Visualizing Indigeneity: Reclamation through Action”, will include presentations and screenings from over fifteen graduate students, professors, independent scholars, and activists. Amanda Blackhorse (Diné, Founder of Arizona to Rally Against Native American Mascots) will be giving a keynote address, followed by a post conference dinner and celebration led by Dr. Dan Longboat (Mohawk, Director of the Indigenous Environmental Studies Program at Trent University).
Artists Arthur, Begaye and Hitchcock present a curatorial project that metaphorically retraces the history of seventy-two American Indian peoples who were forcibly taken from their homes in Salt Fork, OK, and transported by train to St. Augustine, Florida. The United States war department imprisoned Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, and Caddo leaders under Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt from 1875-1878.
It was at Fort Marion (renamed Castillo de San Marcos in 1942) that Lieutenant
Pratt developed the assimilation methods of control that defined a century of government policy. Assimilation as a term and a political strategy is defined as the total eradication of one culture by another culture by force. The imprisonment method was institutionalized in the federal off-reservation boarding school policy that was in place in the United States until the 1930s. The most central boarding school example was authored at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania (1879) where Lieutenant Pratt coined the phrase “Kill the Indian, save the man.” Five hundred and thirty Chiricahua Apache men, women, and children were imprisoned in Fort Marion, Florida, which initiated twenty-seven years of prisoner of war status.
The curators asked seventy-two artists to respond to the experience of imprisonment by creating an individual work on paper in the same dimensions as the historic ledger drawings made at Fort Marion from 1875-1878. The exhibition is a contemporary response to a historical experience held intact within American Indian communities through oral history and art.
The artists selected include Native American, non-Native and descendants from both periods of imprisonment. Engaging these historical events, the artists reclaim the telling of this story to offer an indigenous perspective of our shared history. We urge the viewer to consider this fresh perspective, while bearing in mind the idea of forgotten histories, and the power of memory. As curator Emily Arthur states, “It’s not history,” Nancy Mithlo further posits in her essay for the exhibition: “Memory and alternative temporalities have conspired to make this history present and alive.”
For further information on the exhibition and related programs, please visit www.reridinghistory.org or contact Natalie Fleming. The gallery’s hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 1PM -6PM, Friday and Saturday, 12PM-3PM