Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Discipline

Art

New!What should be displayed? Native arts in museums and on the runways

Author:Melanie King

This case study considers questions of how, what, and where Indigenous arts should be displayed and the responsibility museums and other public institutions have in representing other cultures. This case will also address cultural appropriation seen in popular culture as an extension of the issues created in part by collectors of Native arts in the public and private spheres and the result of divorcing Native objects from their original context. Additionally this case will explore how objections have been met and what this indicates about changing attitudes and values.

New!Whose Story Should Be Told

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith

This case tells the story of controversial murals in a prominent federal building in the historic Federal Triangle district in Washington D.C.  American Indian employees who work in the building, which is now headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, want the murals removed, saying they perpetuate inaccurate and demeaning stereotypes of Native Americans and create a hostile work environment.  The mural dispute raises issues about the connections between government and the arts and difficult questions about leadership, public policy, stereotypes, historical integrity, civil rights, and cultural politics.  These conflicts illustrate important issues of rights vs interests and the relationship between Native concerns and the so-called “national good.”

Bridging Two Worlds: Developing and Maintaining a Native American Center at a Public College

Author:Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, J.D. (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe), Longhouse Director, The Evergreen State College

This case explores some of the issues, questions, challenges and strategies in planning and implementing a Native-based facility at an educational institution. This case draws on fifteen years of public service through Native arts administration at the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College.

Issues in Contemporary American Indian Art: An Iroquois Example

Author:Gail Temblay

This case examines issues that an indigenous artist faces when trying to define the direction her work might take as she leaves the university and thinks about her place in the indigenous and mainstream arts community. It deals with topics like tradition and modernity, the place of art inside and outside the indigenous community, art and tribal sovereignty, and examines the way in which two important contemporary Iroquois artists act as an example for a young artist as she questions her role as she contemplates entering the contemporary art world and choosing a graduate program to prepare herself to address issues that relate culture and art.

Indian Identity in the Arts

Author:Kuckkahn, Tina

This case examines questions relating to the issues of Indian identity within the field of Native arts, both in terms of the creation of art and Native arts administration. The case looks at the Indian Arts and Craft Act of 1990 and the impact of the application of the law to Indian artists and Native arts service organizations. The question of "who is an Indian artist?" as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act has legal, cultural and community implications. The question of "what is Indian art?" has many implications for the field of indigenous art and comprises a wide range of viewpoints.