Kill the Indian, Save the Man

Kill the Indian, Save the Man, 2017
Vinyl, Thermochromic Ink, charting tape. 16’x9’

This artwork is a survey of Indian Boarding Schools Operating from 1850-2017. The map appears in a censored state, with black ink obscuring the content.  This special ink can be made transparent using the heat of touch. The viewer is encouraged to touch the artwork to reveal details obscured at first glance.  The piece illustrates a system of state-sponsored cultural genocide.  The act of redaction mimics the expungement of this history from contemporary education. There were hundreds of US Indian Boarding Schools, many of whose names have vanished through academic neglect.  Hundreds of thousands of native children were forcibly taken from their families over a span of 128 years, until the Indian Child Welfare Act 0f 1978 gave native families’ the custodial rights to protect their children.  Prior to this law, native children could be rounded up by public or private agencies and forcibly relocated to boarding schools, seminaries, military facilities and labor camps to have their culture, language, and religion systematically stripped from them.  These histories have been expunged through deliberate silence, censorship and propaganda. And yet it is not just an ugly history, the effects of these policies are still playing out.  They continue generationally, affecting individuals, families, and tribal communities.

2017 Project Diana: Echo Echo, The Alice Gallery, Seattle, WA.