Portraits of Dispossession

Tags: Janet Catherine Berlo, Native American, Cheyenne, Sioux, JSTOR Terms and Conditions, Cohoe, Fort Marion, New York, University of Washington Press, College Art Association, Cape Dorset, Plains Indian, Native American Art Studies Association, Northwest Territories,Canada, American Art, Art, Inuit Graphic Arts Author, dominant culture, Art Journal, Graphic Arts, dispossession, Plains Indians, George Catlin, Native American art history, Canadian Inuit, Cheyenne warrior, Ledger drawings, JSTOR archive, JSTOR, Preservationof American Indian Art, George Custer, Dorothy Dunn, American Indian Art, Amos Bad Heart Bull, University of Nebraska Press, Peter Powell, Karen Daniels Petersen, Plains Indian Art, Plains, E. Adamson Hoebel, Fort Sill, Yellow Nose, Missouri Historical Society, Haw, Indian watches, Thomas B. Marquis, Crow Artist, Museum of the American Indian, Evan S. Connell, David Leventhal, David H. Miller, Richard Pratt, Colonel W. A. Graham, Brian Dippie, Little Big Horn, Contemporary Inuit Drawings, Military Service Publications, University of Oklahoma 140 Art, Reference Publications, University of Montana, Native American Art
Content: Portraits of Dispossession in Plains Indian and Inuit Graphic Arts Author(s): Janet Catherine Berlo Reviewed work(s): Source: Art Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2, Depictions of the Dispossessed (Summer, 1990), pp. 133141 Published by: College Art Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/777193 . Accessed: 08/03/2013 12:30 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] .
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Portraits of Dispossession
Inuit Graphic Arts
By Janet Catherine Berlo
W hile we have long appreciated Native arts that feed our hunger for the pristine, the alien, and the sacred-qualities that are in short supply in modern Industrial Society-it is only recently that art historians have taken up serious study of those arts in which Indigenous peoples expose our imperialist activities. On this topic we lag behind our colleagues in other disciplines;1 moreover, most scholars have until recently avoided a political or social-historical analysis of Native American artworks, focusing instead on traditional topics of style and iconography.2 This article considers graphic arts made by Inuit (Canadian Eskimo) and Plains Indian peoples themselves, focusing on images that chronicle their own dispossession and cultural trauma. Ledger drawings by Kiowa, Sioux, and Cheyenne warriors during the reserva- tion era (1869-1900) have many traits in common with Canadian Inuit graph- ics of the last thirty years, despite the fact that almost a century stands between them. Both provide remarkable windows into times of great cultural upheaval as depicted by those undergoing the process of change. While numerous literary narratives of acculturative processes exist, and are often consulted for their insight into the indigenous mind, little scholarly attention has been paid to the visual representations of these same phenomena.3 Such visual images speak cogently to the painful disruptions that Euroamericans have thrust upon indigenous peoples. Here I shall consider the various uses of Inuit and Plains graphic arts, both personal and commercial, and their meanings for both indigenous Amerindian and modernWesternculture. These drawings and prints, in which the indigenous artist speaks with his or her own voice about matters of imperialism, culture change, and ethnic identity, are key visual texts for an understanding of such issues. Intellectually, we can no
longer afford to focus exclusively on those arts from before the contact period as if they were somehow the most authentically Indian.4 Plains Ledger-Book Art: Chronicles of Warand Remembrance Traditionally, male artists of Kiowa, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other ethnic groups of the Great Plains painted on buffalo hides and other animal skins narrative scenes of their personal feats of bravery in warfare. Such hide paintings servedas personaland architectural adornment;some, called "wintercounts" by the Sioux, chronicled the history of the whole band, not just the individual.5 As white hunters slaughtered the great buffalo herds during the second half of the nineteenth century, hides became scarce, and Plains artists turned to imported materials to record their autobiographical exploits. The large bound ledger book-a pedestrian item used for catalogue and inventory by traders and military officers-was appropriated by Indian artists of the Great Plains as a new canvas upon which to draw their exploits in warfare. As the end of the century brought ever more dramatic changes in native customs, ledger-book art increasingly became a chronicle of the old ways-an art of remembrancein which the passings of old modes of dress, courtship, and dance were recorded by men who were prisoners (either literally or figuratively, as we shall see) of a new way of life. Most were living lives of "enforcedleisure"on reservationsestab- lished by acts of Congress in the 1860s and 1870s. Stylistic changes in the pictorial conventions of hide and ledger-book painting during the course of the nineteenth century have been studied thoroughly.6 The expansion of the formal vocabulary of the painter is the most significant of these changes, a result of contact with Europeanconventionsof modeling, foreshortening, realism, and the use of one-point perspective. After watching
artists like George Catlin and Karl Bodmer paint, skillful Indian artists imitated and adapted foreign pictorial conventionsto their own uses, leaving us a highly detailed and descriptive chronicle of dispossession during the second half of the nineteenth century.7 Despite great innovations in materials, style, and technique, many artists treated their ledger books of drawings in the same way that they had previously treated their hide paintings: they wore or carried them into battle as validation of previous bravery in warfare and as protective talismans. The Little Finger Nail Ledger, for example, carried on the body of its maker, was pierced by the bullet that killed the Cheyenne warriorartist.8 A ledger book drawn by the Sioux painter and warrior Red Hawk, taken from his dead body on the battlefield of Wounded Knee in 1890, contained 116 drawings of warfare, horse capture, and other events.9 Sometimes these books have complicated artistic and military histories. First Sergeant Brown of the Seventh Cavalry had a small ledger book in which he recorded various details of military life, such as duty rosters and the names of the best marksmen. A Cheyenne warrior, High Bull, captured the roster from the body of Sergeant Brown on the battlefield of Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876, and thereafter recorded his own personalpictographichistory,sometimes right over the sergeant's lists and notations. While this can be viewed as simple parsimony of materials, it also serves to assert the native artist's iden- tity by negating the presence of the previous owner. In November of 1876 High Bull was killed in battle by soldiers who reclaimedthe roster.?1(This recirculation of objects between cultures is another fascinating topic in Native American Art History, and one deserving of more attention.) The ledger books recording the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn are worth examining for several reasons.11 Well
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Fig. 1 Execution of Four Female Sioux, from Little Wolf Ledger, 1877, colored pencil and ink on paper. Courtesy of the Foundationfor the Preservationof American Indian Art and Culture, Chicago.
Fig. 2 Yellow Nose Counting Coup with the American Flag, from Spotted Wolf-Yellow Nose Ledger, 1877-89, colored pencil and ink on paper. National AnthropologicalArchives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., MS 166.032.
chronicled both pictorially and orally by Plains Indians, the battle was an unusual situation in the annals of military history, for it was a staggering loss for the U.S. cavalry-there were no white survivorsand no white eyewitnesses, so there was no "official" version by the hegemonic culture, only a series of mythic transformations in which over the generations General George Custer and his men have been mythologized lionized, and, more recently, vilified." In recent years we have come to mythologizethe braveryand life ways of Plains Indians, but in the second half of the nineteenth century few white voices
(aside from Quakers) protested U.S. policies of containment and elimination of the Indian. These artistic chronicles, written on white man's paper and ultimately deposited in white institutions, are all that remain to tell of the Sioux and Cheyenne versions of the "Indianwars."13TraditionalPlains nar- rative arts, here mediated by use of European veristic conventions and artists' materials, tell a story of oppression, bravery,and resistance. I shall examine drawings from two books, the Little Wolf Ledger and the Spotted Wolf-Yellow Nose Ledger,both drawn between 1877 and 1889 by
warrior-artistswho had participated in the Battle of Little Big Horn.14 Colloquially called "Custer's Last Stand," it was the last stand of the Plains Indians, too, for never again would Plains warriors have such a decisive victory and never again would so many Plains people assemble their camps in one place. Although U.S. military history records the battle as a slaughter in which Custer and some 225 men were outnumbered by over 1,000 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, Custer's forces were just one column of a triple-prongedattack force. The largest military force ever assembled on the Plains, its intent was to "solve" the Indian problem by wiping out or capturing all the Indians who, by setting up their large villages of tipis in their customary manner on the banks of the Little Big Horn River, were defying reservationlaws. One Cheyenne woman recalls the size of the encampment: "There were more Indians in those six camps than I ever saw together anywhere else."15 Some estimates exceed 10,000 individuals. The drawing in fig. 1 records a preliminary attack by Major Reno's troops, who charged into one of the Sioux encampments, setting fire to tipis and shooting at men, women, and children alike. The Little Wolf Ledger artist depicted the execution of four female Sioux and a baby by two blue-coated soldiers. Their weapons are so carefully delineated that they are recognizable as Springfield carbines (a lighter and shorter version of the rifle). The women's bleeding bodies litter the ground, as the soldiers presumably turn to the next victims, off the page. This drawing is most unusual in that it chronicles not the honorable battle of professional soldiers against each other, which is customary in Plains narrative art, but the murder of innocents.16 Insofar as the number of murdered women and children in this drawing corresponds to the three children and two wives of the Hunkpapa Sioux warriorGall,17it serves to legitimize the actions of Gall, who later led the attack on Custer. Fig. 2 commemorates the bravery of Yellow Nose, an adopted Cheyenne warrior.Plains oral history recalls what this scene depicts-that Yellow Nose seemed impervious to the flying bullets at Little Big Horn as he deftly rode through the soldiers, carrying his captured rifles and American flag.'8 As illustrated here, Yellow Nose looks unflinchingly into the face of rifle fire. Both he and his horse bend low as he uses the captured American flag to "count coup" on the soldier who takes aim at him (meaning to touch an enemy
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in battle without necessarily killing him, a gesture that stressed the ritualized nature of Plains warfare). Yellow Nose's spotted yellow horse in contorted pose stands out in the red, blue, and black composition. Blood streams from the dying soldiers and a wounded horse, as it did from the bodies of the Sioux women in the previous illustration. Although it depicts a unique historical moment in a decisive battle, and does so with great stylistic inventiveness, in the context of Plains iconographyYellow Nose's drawing is a conventional scene of personal bravery. In the same year as the Battle of Little Big Horn, a related but different sort of struggle was being waged at Fort Marion, Florida-this one for the hearts and minds of some six dozen Cheyenne, Kiowa, and other Plains warriors. They had been rounded up at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in April of 1875, ostensibly for their crimes against white settlers, and sentenced to three years' imprisonment at a military fort in St. Augustine, Florida. Twenty-six of these men passed their time in prison by making art. The warden, Captain Richard Pratt, provided the inmates with pencils and sketchbooks and allowed them to earn spending money by making drawings and curios for sale. Their drawings have been well published, but not well studied for their implications; they provide a fascinating Case study of physical and psychological dispossession.19 The Fort Marion artists, while making works to sell, continued to use this art to record heroic deeds and to recount significant events in their personal histories; they also chronicled new adventures in an alien and perilous environment. Several artists depicted the train ride the captives endured on their trip south, a trip that most of them believed would end in their death. Some drew the unfamiliar Spanish architecture of the fort itself, a nearby lighthouse, the novel activity of fishing for "sea buffalo" (sharks), and their new routines as prisoners and schoolboys. That the journey from saddle to school bench was not an easy one is suggested by a drawing by the Kiowa artist Wo-Haw: a penciled-in spectral Indian watches the activities of the tamed and shorn warriors who are being taught to read and write (fig. 3). Other drawings illustrate the humiliating or untenable positions in which these men were placed. While they ordinarily wore army blue, as Wo-Haw showed in his drawing of the men in class, the Indians occasionally fashioned "traditional dress" to perform native dances for white visitors, as Cheyenne artist Cohoe depicted (fig. 4). His drawing presents a bird's-eye view of
eleven dancing warriors and a close circle of drummers, supervised by Captain Pratt and another man. Surrounding them, an audience of forty-three Victorian tourists watches the spectacle. This image lays bare the essence of Indian-whiterelationsduringone particular historical moment, depicting the spectators' fascination with "savage" dances and their state of undress. Cohoe's drawing also reveals his equal
fascination with the details of Victorian garb, each woman's dress delineated individually (though individuality of facial type is of no interest to him). Stripes, dots, ribbons, and fans are all faithfully recorded. Cohoe's careful rendition of these elements reveals his own interest in white culture, even as the subject matter of his drawing depicts the white spectator's curiosity about native culture.
Fig. 3 Wo-Haw, Reading Class at Fort Marion, 1875-77, ledger-book drawing, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 81/2x 11 inches. Courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.
Fig. 4 Cohoe, Fort Marion Prisoners Dancingfor Tourists, 1875-77, graphite and colored pencil on paper. private collection. Reproduced from A Cheyenne Sketchbook by Cohoe, commentary by E. Adamson Hoebel and Karen Daniels Petersen (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964).
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Fig. 5 Wo-Haw, Wo-Haw between Two Worlds, 1875-77, ledger-bookdrawing, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 81/2x 11 inches. Courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.
The process of replication and minia- Haw's other foot is firmly planted in the Inuit art industry over the last thirty
turization apparent here has been de- tilled fields of a white settler's frame years is a well-known story and will not
scribedas a means of gaining powerover house. This image stands as the single be repeated here.26More than a dozen
a thing, thus allowing it to be better most powerful metaphor and most poi- settlements produce stone and bone
apprehended, grasped, or controlled.20 gnant representation by a nineteenth- sculpture for sale "in the south," and
Rituals of control and domination take century Indian artist of the cultural five communities publish annual edi-
place at this idealized penal colony,21 schisms of that era.24 Wo-Haw knew tions of silkscreen and stone-cut prints.
where a miniature but representative that the massive cultural disruptions Drawings have been collected since the
society of Plains warriorsenacts scaled- wrought by whites in his lifetime inexo- first white explorers and whalers gave
down and sanitized simulacra of warfare rably decreed that the Native American pencils and paper to the Inuit, but only
fortheircaptors'pleasure.The miniatur- stand with a foot in each culture, recently have drawings come into their
ization occurs also in the ledger-book endeavoringto make peace with each. own as an art form, rather than as the
drawings that Cohoe and his colleagues
raw material for the printmaking
made for sale to visitors to the fort. The Inuit GraphicArts: Twentieth-Century process.27
tourists departed with a memento of Transformations
A primary characteristic of most
their voyeuristic experience,22secure in Prints and drawings made during the Inuit prints, a concern with depicting
their privileged insight into "the Indian last thirty years by Inuit (Eskimo)25 the Inuit way of life of previous genera-
problem"and its solutions.
artists of the Canadian Arctic display tions, accounts in part for their popular-
While Cohoe may or may not have more subtle aspects of cultural coloniza- ity in the Euroamerican art market.
intended the layers of irony we can now tion than those of their Plains counter- Depictions of a picturesque life that is
read into his work, mediated by one parts of the previous century. The alien to us include scenes of caribou
hundred years of history, another Fort interactions of Inuit and whites in the hunting, trapping salmon in a fish weir,
Marionartist depictedunmistakablythe Arctic have been, for the most part, sewing a skin tent, and views of musk-
acute ambivalence of being caught peaceful; there is not to be found in Inuit oxen, polar bears, and snow geese. Inuit
between two cultures (fig. 5). In the art or history a chronicle of battle, artists (and indeed the whole contempo-
finaldrawingof his one complete sketch- slaughter, or overt physical depredation. rary art-making enterprise) have been
book that survives,23Wo-Haw inscribed Yet the cultural colonization of the criticized for this subject matter; it has
his name over a self-portrait in the Arctic, over the last generation in been interpreted as pandering to an
center of the composition. He wears a particular, is no less thorough in its obsessiveromanticismon the part of the
loincloth, and his uncut hair flows down implicationsforthe eventualtransforma- southern art market, which persists in
his back. Celestial bodies-a crescent tion of Inuit life.
believing that the Inuit live in igloos,
moon, a shooting star, and the sun-
Like their counterparts on the Great travel by dog team, and survive on
witness his actions. To Wo-Haw's left Plains, the Inuit traditionally were a salmon-all this in the face of the
stands a domesticated beef cow, for migratory people. They lived in camps, ubiquitous presence in the north of
whom he is named. From the other side, following the caribou migrations or the woodenhouses,satellite dishes, snowmo-
a buffalo, the traditional sustenance of seasonal rhythms of hunting and fishing. biles, and supermarkets.
Plains peoples, approaches. Wo-Haw Today most of them live in permanent Two of the Inuit images considered
holds out a peace pipe to each animal, settlements that were provided by the here do in fact depict the complexities of
though he is facing the domesticated Canadiangovernmentin the 1950s after modern northern life and intercultural
cow. One foot stands near the miniature several years of great hardship on the communication. The first, a drawing
buffalo herd and Kiowa tipi, but Wo- land. The modern development of an done in 1964 by Cornelius Nutarak
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(fig. 6), shows an acute awareness of an alien audience.28 On the recto of the page shown, the artist depicted a traditional scene titled Hunting Whales Long Ago, in which Western conventions of foreshortening and one-point perspective are utilized (though they are more often disregarded in Inuit graphics). In the image reproduced here, the verso, the hunting scene is explained in Inuit syllabics.29An Inuit man in a skin parka and leggings gestures at a framed text. A translationof part of the text reads: The harpoon is like this: harpoon head, joint, shaft, drag, inflated sealskin float, hole for blowing up float,spearused for killing,doubleedged knife. These are the harpoons used in kayaks. They were used long ago when people did not have rifles. I too myself, Nutarak, have seen them being used. They used to
catch beluga whales with things like these in kayaks. I used to see whale harpoons. It is fun to do that. The thing is, they were used before I was able; I never used them. But I have seen them.30 Here the Inuit artist takes on the role of cultural commentator or tour guide. At first, Nutarak's drawing seems akin to those of nineteenth-century artists such as Karl Bodmer, whose watercolors of Plains people and artifacts served to explicate an alien culture. But Nutarak is tour guide to his own culture. As in Cohoe's nineteenth-century drawing of Indians dancing for a white audience (fig. 4), the work conveys a double message, reflecting the modern Inuit's alienation from the traditional hunting lifestyle of the past. Thus, art serves a crucial social function for the Inuit in the second half of the twentieth century, for by means of the arts of printmaking,
drawing, and sculpture, Inuit people maintaina relationshipwith theirunique past. To draw harpoons, kayaks, and Inuit syllabics is to be Inuit, whereas in the past to use these things provided a unique cultural identity. Nutarak is like the Plains artist Cohoe in another way as well: his work has a double audience. He deliberately presentedelements from his own culture for the scrutiny of an outside audience; indeed, this drawingwas comissionedby a white administrator, just as the Fort Marion ledgers were sold to white patrons. Yet the crucial information Nutarak inscribed on the blackboardis in Inuit syllabics. Few whites read syllabics; is this didactic lesson meant to be read by other modern Inuit like himself? Nutarak comes from a tradition in which oral narrative is the privileged form of discourse. Here, however, he has presented his message in a linear way: he has used art as a
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paper, 20 x Northwest
Territories, Canada.
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means of encapsulating the past and conveying it with didactic precision to his foreign audience and to his Inuit audience alike. The figure in the drawing who points to the enframed text is not the artist, for under him is the caption "This old person had used a kayak."31It is an Inuit elder, the expert on native culture, who legitimates and authenticatesthe informationbeing conveyed, though the text assures us that the artist himself has seen it. The Inuit elder is the figure of authority who leaves a legacy for his own heirs as well as for the non-Inuit patron. Another work that depicts the multivalency of self-representation is a 1982 print by the Cape Dorset artist Napachie Pootoogook (b. 1938) (fig. 7). Daughter of perhaps the most famous Inuit artist, Pitseolak,32Napachie shares her mother'sinterest in depicting the old ways. But occasionally, as in this print, she reflects upon the meaning of old and new, past and present, tradition and modernizationin a mannerthat shrewdly delineates the realities of Inuit life today. Here Napachie holds a drawing of an old-style caribou-skin tent. While the drawing is the work of art that she seems to present to the viewer, it has a double message, for a finely crafted caribou-skin tent was, in days past, an Inuit woman's artistic contribution. To- day it is her depiction of such that makes her an artist. Napachie holds a drawing of an old-style tent but stands in front of a modern canvas tent with a wooden door. Her son emerges from the tent wearing a baseball cap (an item of youthful garb that, like the T-shirt, cuts acrossall internationalboundaries).The work of art that Napachie really presents-the 1982 print-encompasses three worlds: the old ways of the Inuit tentmaker, the world of the Inuit artist who representsthose old ways in graphic arts, and the modern representation of herself presenting these two successive stages of the past. Like Wo-Haw, Napachie is negotiating the shifting terrain between past and present, delineating these juxtapositions in her art. Napachie's print brings up another aspect of dispossession not often discussed in our study of the visual arts of fourth-world peoples: the issue of gender. Representations of self by female artists in traditional Native American societies are rare; on the Great Plains, representational arts traditionally were a male pursuit. Women's arts were for the most part abstract and nonfigurative until the reservation era, when women began in larger numbers to bead scenes of horses, soldiers, and U.S. flags on vests, valises, and so forth. Even today on the Great Plains, painting and
graphic arts are remarkably dominated by male artists, but among the Inuit, where printmaking is an introduced art form, gender prohibitions are looser than in most other native societies. Women are among the most successful and highly acclaimed Inuit graphic artists; in some communities, more than 50 percent of the works in the annual print editions are by women.33 Inuit graphic art providesan unusually strong example of female self-representation. Just as native peoples will no longer allow non-nativeportraitsto stand as the only truth about their lives, so too are native women increasingly insisting on inscribing their own reality. Finally, among Inuit artists the master of the contradictionsof modernlife is the Cape Dorset artist Pudlo Pudlat (b. 1916). Many of his works take as their subjectthe intrusionof southerntechnology in a northern landscape: airplanes, snowmobiles, school buses, and electric lines are juxtaposed with musk-oxen, hunters, flying fish, and dog sleds. In Pudlo's graphics, a gigantic musk-ox, emblematic of the traditional (and, one suspects, a stand-in for himself), is often pittedagainst the modernor the mechanical. Fig. 8 shows the musk-ox as the land itself; two Inuit and a dog scale the hilly topography of the musk-ox's back by means of a rope tied to its horns. Also swinging from the antlers is a plane, looking almost like a flying fish snagged by a line. Here, northernforces marshal to snag and control southern technology. While Pudlo does not always include people in his works, the implied message is that the Inuit in their traditional setting are struggling with the new technologies that have been introduced so rapidly in the last thirty years. To inscribeand depict the tools and technologies of white society is to exert a measure of control over those forces of modernization. To miniaturize a school bus, a helicopter, or a satellite dish-or to snag a tiny airplaneon the hornsof an oversize musk-ox-is to position oneself in an active and dynamic stance against the onslaught of modernization. Metonyms of Power:Plains and Inuit GraphicArts in Contemporary Perspective Considered in social terms, representation stands for the interests of power. Consciously or unconsciously, all institutionalized forms of representation certify correspondinginstitutions of power.35 Art history, like any other historical discipline, has constructed the institutions of power within which we view works of art. The question is, whose
works of art speak for the culture at any given time? In subsequent eras, whose work is represented in the annals of scholarship? Traditional art-historical scholarship has embraced notions of "quality" and standards of "connoisseurship" to reassure us that the finest artists represent their historical moments. Thus attention has been focused exclusively on those masters, conveniently disenfranchising those of the wrong race, gender, social class, or ethnic group. Within the realm of the discourse on graphic arts in modern Western culture, works by Wo-Haw or Nutarak are unlikely ever to be discussed in Master Drawings, for example; they ask the wrong questions and tell the wrong stories. While the artists examined in this essay may stand outside the institutions of power in Western culture, their acts of self-representation do signify power and identity within their own cultures. By using the visual arts as one mode for defining their reality, Plains and Inuit artists demand that their voices be heard, their images seen. This is a radical act of self-definition. Even in those so-called tourist arts, made for an alien audience, the act of art making inscribes and defines a vision of the self that is crucial to native identity. Such works of art serve as metonyms for the larger currentnative discourseon autonomy, identity, and self-determination. The popularized genres of Inuit and Plains graphics that I have not examined here-the seemingly innocent scenes of traditional life ways and ceremonies-can be understood in this same fashion. Recalling the past by means of artistic representation reaffirms ethnicity. It is taking an active stance in relation to one's own culture and in relation to the dominant culture. Inuit graphicsthat depict the old waysscenes of igloo building, skin sewing, caribou hunting-have been criticized as nostalgic and artificial.36But as for analogous processes in colonial literature, one writer suggests that "such remembrance does not encourage a passive yearning for reinstalling an unrecoverable past, but is an intervention winning back a zone from colonialist representation."37To represent the past and to inscribe one's place in a universe of meanings are the fundamental activities of most artists. For the native artist it is an especially important act, given that so many outside forces conspire to appropriate that past for uses that have nothing to do with native needs. Moreover, in romanticizing and "domesticating" the past, the native artist takes part in a historicizing impulse that is common to most cultures.
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Fig. 7 Napachie Pootoogook,Drawing of My Tent, Cape Dorset, 1982, stonecut and stencil, 25 x 34 inches. Reproducedwith permissionof the West Baffin EskimoCo-operativeLtd., Northwest Territories,Canada.
Fig. 8 Pudlo Pudlat, Windsof Change, Cape Dorset, 1985, lithograph,22 x 30 inches. Reproducedwith permissionof the West BaffinEskimo Co-operativeLtd., Northwest Territories,Canada.
David Leventhal notes that as the past becomes "a foreign country with a booming tourist trade," as the past recedes from our grasp, we seek to reevoke it by "multiplying paraphernalia about it-souvenirs, mementoes, historical romances, old photos-and by preservingand rehabilitatingits relics."
In view of modern Western society's nostalgia toward ethnographic images, the native artist and his or her tribal history take on another aspect: for us they represent a mythologized ideal of the Other that derives meaning from its apparent contrast with our own world. Indeed, Western culture can
conceive of itself only with reference to fictions of the primitive.39Inuit history becomes our fiction. Inuit graphics and some Plains ledger-book art have also been criticized because they are made for sale to outsiders,40as if selling a work of art causes it to lose credibility as real art. This, again, suits our fiction of a pristine, self-sufficient native society whose art is unsullied by the economic intercourse that is so crucial to our own art world. Arts by the dispossessed have been marginalized in multiple ways. They are outside the main discourses of power (the Euro-centric art world), and even within ethnographic art history they are marginalizedonce again for failing to be "authentic," "pure," "indigenous" representations. They are not sacred works made of native materials. Paradoxically, it could be argued that in fact the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Kiowa drawings of the 1870s and the Inuit prints and drawings of the past two decades discussed in this essay are the most authentic native arts of their respective eras, for in both media and subject matter they chronicle current historical realities. These artists affirmwhat we too often forget: they are not merely passive recipients of the goods and ideas of the dominantculture. To analyze their art is to recognize that they are active participants in a changing social drama. Their art provides an alternativeto the officialepistemologyin which meaning is constructed by our representationsof native peoples and by our arrangements of their artifacts in our museums. Central to most of the images discussed in this essay is the question of intentionality. For whom is the work intended? Who is the implied viewer? As I have demonstrated,generally these are multivalent and multivocal works that hold a message for the native audience as well as the dominant culture. Napachie experiments with the idea of viewing and reviewing the past through the agency of the artist in the present, as does Nutarak. Cohoe and Wo-Haw describe the position of the Native American artist in relation both to the dominant culture and to native culture. To offer a linguistic analogy for these arts, we might say that by using the materials and artistic means of the dominant culture to express their own reality, artists of the Arctic and Great Plains are speaking the dominant language but with their own recognizable accent and their own stories to tell. This can serve as a kind of coopting of the hegemonic forms, or what has been called "the fracturing of the colonialist text by rearticulating it in broken
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English,"41which changes and appropriates both the medium and the message. As we have seen, even in the tourist arts made at Fort Marion, or the graphic arts made for sale in the Arctic, a native cultural critique-both of our culture and of their own-is implicit, if one is positioned to read it. Inuit and Plains graphic arts extend our boundaries of knowledge about the Other. Sometimes they show us what we want to see-happy natives, quaint
customs, colorful clothing-and we are reassured. Less frequently, as in the graphics discussed in this essay, they pierce the veil so that we can see, and thereby better confront, the pain, the cultural schizophrenia, the feet in two worlds (fig. 5) that is at the heart of the colonial encounter. In their works, Inuit and Plains graphic artists hold up a mirror to their own society, but if we gaze long enough, it is revealed as a two-way mirror, reflecting and refract-
ing the visible worlds of both Native American and hegemonic cultures. Janet Catherine Berlo is professor and chair of the Department of Art at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is currently at work on a book titled Female Artists of the Fourth World: Women and Art in Amerindian, Oceanic, and African Cultures.
Notes I would like to thank Jack Rushing, Dick Miller, Kate Kane, John Nunley, and Cecelia Klein for their critical readings of an early draft of this essay. 1 In other recent literary and cultural studies, unraveling the layers of meaning, representation, and interpretation surrounding the colonized and the colonizer has been a paramount issue. See, for example, Benita Parry, "Problems in Current Theories of Colonial Discourse," Oxford Literary Review 9, nos. 1-2 (1987): 27-58; Abdul R. JanMohamed, "Humanism and Minority Literature: Toward a Definition of Counter-hegemonicDiscourse," Boundary2 (Spring/Fall 1984): 281-99; Chandra Talpade Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourse," Boundary 2 (Spring/Fall 1984): 333-58; and FredR. Myers, "The Politicsof Representation: Anthropological Discourse and Australian Aborigines," American Ethnologist 13, no. 1 (1986): 138-53. Other works can be found in their bibliographies. 2 For recent exceptions, see Aldona Jonaitis, From the Land of the Totem Poles: The NorthWest Coast Indian Art Collection at the AmericanMuseum of Natural History (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988); and Janet Catherine Berlo, ed., The Early Years of Native American Art History: Essays on the Politics of Scholarship and Collecting (Seattle: University of Washington Press, forthcoming). For further remarks on these issues, see also Cecelia Klein, "GainingRespect:Native American Art Studies and the Humanities," keynote address, Native American Art Studies Association, Denver, 1987, published in NAASA Newsletter 6, no. 2 (1989): 3-6; and Ruth Phillips, "Native American Art and the New Art History," keynote address, Native American Art Studies Association, Vancouver, 1989. 3 A notable exception is provided by Rolena Adorno's Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986), which considers both text and image. See also Thomas Cummins, "Abstraction to Narration: Kero Imagery of Peru and the Alteration of Native Identity," Ph.D. diss., Department of Art History, University of California at Los Angeles, 1988. 4 For an excellent critique of the flawed concept of "tradition," see Jonathan King, "Tradition in Native American Art," in The Arts of the North American Indian: Native Traditions in Evolution, Edwin Wade, ed. (New York:
Hudson Hills Press, 1986), 65-92. For a discussion of the ways in which scholarly language affects the popular perception of Native American art, see Valda Blundell, "Speaking the Art of Canada's Native Peoples: Anthropological Discourse and the Media," unpublished paper, Carleton University, Ottawa, 1989. 5 For illustrations of painted hides worn by men, see Royal Hassrick, The George Catlin Book-of American Indians (New York: WatsonGuptill, 1977), 115, 122, 123, 126; and Judy Thompson,TheNorth AmericanIndian Collection: A Catalogue (Berne, Switzerland: Berne Historical Museum, 1977), 147-58. For painted tipis, see John Ewers, Murals in the Round: Painted Tipis of the Kiowa and Kiowa-Apache Indians (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978); and Peter Nabokov and Robert Easton, Native American Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 150-67. For winter counts, see James Mooney, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians, Bureau of American Ethnology Report no. 14 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1896). 6 See John Ewers, Plains Indian Painting (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1939); and Howard Rodee, "The Stylistic Development of Plains IndianPaintingand Its Relationship to Ledger Drawings," Plains Anthropologis't 10, no. 30 (1965): 218-32. 7 See John Ewers, "The Emergence of the Named Indian Artist in the American West," American Indian Art 6, no. 2 (Spring 1981): 52-61,77. 8 This ledger is in the American Museum of Natural History, ace. no. 50.1/6619. See Peter Powell, People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies (New York: Harper and Row, 1981),1229-37, 1404. 9 See Robert Ritzenthaler, Sioux Indian Draw- ings (Milwaukee, Wis.: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1961); and Helen H. Blish, A Pictographic History of the Oglala Sioux (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967), which depicts both Wounded Knee and the earlier Battle of Little Big Horn. The latter book, drawn by Sioux artist Amos Bad Heart Bull, was passed on to his sister Dollie Pretty Cloud after his death; it was buried with her, according to Sioux custom, in 1947 (see Blish, vii). 10 See Peter Powell, "High Bull's Victory Roster," Montana: The Magazine of Western History
25, no. 1 (1975): 14-21; and idem, People of the Sacred Mountain (cited in n. 8 above), 550, 992-93. This ledger book, also known as Sergeant Brown's Roster Book, is in the collection of the Museum of the American Indian in New York, ace. no. 10.8725. 11 Among them, in addition to the two ledgers illustrated in this article, are Amos Bad Heart Bull's ledger book of 400 drawings, 67 of which recordthe battle as recountedby his father and uncles (see Blish [cited in n. 9 above], figs. 126-85), and the High Bull Victory Roster just discussed (cited in notes 9 and 10 above). 12 For an analysis of this phenomenon, see Brian Dippie, Custer's Last Stand: The Anatomy of an American Myth (Missoula: University of Montana, 1976). Earlier accounts of the event include Colonel W. A. Graham, The Story of Little Big Horn (Harrisburg, Pa.: military service Publications, 1952); Thomas B. Marquis, Custer on the Little Bighorn, 2d rev. ed. (Algonac, Mich.: Reference Publications, 1986); and the recent and highly acclaimed Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell (New York: Perennial Library, 1984). 13 An alternative native version of events is provided by the Crow artist White Swan, who served as a scout for the U.S. cavalry. See David C. Cowles, "White Swan: Crow Artist at Little Big Horn," American Indian Art 7, no. 4 (Autumn 1982): 52-61. 14 More drawings from these books are illustrated in Powell (cited in n. 8 above). Father Peter Powell dates these manuscripts to 1877 and before 1889, respectively (p. 1404). 15 Marquis (cited in n. 12 above), 83. 16 Both its subject matter and its naive, direct graphic handling recall more recent chronicles of dispossession:the contemporarydrawings by children in El Salvador and Guatemala that depict the war waged against villagers by the government's military, armed with helicopters and machine guns. See, for example, William Vornburger, ed., Fire from the Sky: Salvadoran Children's Drawings (New York: Writers and Readers PublishingCooperative,1986). 17 Powell (cited in n. 8 above), 968, 1011. 18 See ibid., 972, 1023-24; and David H. Miller, Custer's Fall: The Indian Side of the Story (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1957), 130-31. 19 The most thoroughhistoricalstudyandcompendium of these drawings is Karen Daniels Petersen's Plains Indian Art from Fort Marion, Florida (Norman: University of Oklahoma
Art Journal
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Press,1971).OtherstudiesincludeE. Adam- EdwinWadeand RennardStricklandM, agic Inuktitut:An HistoricalPerspective,"Inukti-
son Hoebel and Karen Daniels Petersen,A
Images [Norman:Universityof Oklahoma tut Magazine(Ottawa,Departmenot f Indian
Cheyenne Sketchbook by Cohoe (Norman:
Press, 1981], 62 and 119).
andNorthernAffairsCanada)53 (September
Universityof OklahomaPress,1964);Burton 25 While related in culture and language to 1983): 3-35.
Supree, Bear's Heart: Scenes from the Life of a
Eskimosin AlaskaandGreenlandt,he Eskimo 30 Blodgett(citedinn. 27 above),136.
CheyenneArtist (PhiladelphiaJ: . P. Lippen- peopleof Canadapreferto be calledby their 31 Ibid.
cott, 1977); Dorothy Dunn, 1877: Plains ownnameforthemselvesI,nuit,ratherthanthe 32 See Dorothy Eber, ed., Pitseolak: Pictures Out
Indian Sketchbooks of Zo-Tom and Howling
term"Eskimo,"an appellativegivenby neigh- of MyLife(Seattle:Universityof Washington
Wolf(FlagstaffA, riz.:NorthlandPress,1969); boringIndianpeople.Furthermoret,he term Press, 1971).
and J. C. Berlo, "Wo-Haw's Notebooks: "Inuit"is officiallyrecognizedbytheCanadian 33 See JanetCatherineBerlo,"ThePowerof the
19th-CenturyIndianDrawingsin the Collec- governmentT. heartisticsituationdescribedin Pencil: Inuit Women and Graphic Arts," Inuit
tions of the Missouri Historical Society," this articleexistsonly amongCanadianInuit Art Quarterly5, no. 1 (1990): 16-26; and
Gateway Heritage: Journal of the Missouri
and does not reflectthe culturalsituationof "Inuit Women and Graphic Arts: Female
Historical Society 3, no. 2 (Fall 1982): 2-13.
AlaskanEskimosw, hosecontemporarayrtsare Creativityand Its CulturalContext,"Cana-
20 See ClaudeLevi-Strauss,The Savage Mind unrelated.
dian Journal of Native Studies (forthcoming,
(Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress,1966), 26 See, for example,GeorgeSwinton,Sculpture 1990).
23-24. 21 Fort Marionwas visitedby HarrietBeecher
of the Eskimos (Toronto:McClellandand 34 His workis representedin manyof the Cape Stewart,1972);HelgaGoetz,TheInuitPrint Dorsetannualprintcollections.See also Jean
Stowe as well as by many religious and
(Ottawa:National Museumof Man, 1977); Blodgett, Grasp Tight the Old Ways (Toronto:
educationarleformersS. ee Petersen(citedin n. 19 above), chap. 3; and RichardH. Pratt,
and Sheila Butler, "The First Printmaking Art Gallery of Ontario, 1983), 136-41. A Year at Baker Lake: PersonalReflections," retrospectivoef Pudlo'swork,curatedbyMarie
Battlefield and Classroom: Four Decades with
Routledgei,s openingin July1990at Ottawa's
the American Indian, 1867-1904 (New Haven: 27 See, for example,JeanBlodgett,NorthBaffin NationalGallery.
YaleUniversityPress,1964),154, 175. 22See Dean MacCannell,The Tourist (New
Drawings(Toronto:Art Galleryof Ontario, 35 Brian Wallis, ed., Art after Modernism: Re1986); Marion Jackson and Judith Nasby, thinking Representation (New York: New
York:SchockenBooks,1976),fora discussion of tourism, mementos, and "staged
Contemporary Inuit Drawings (Guelph, On-
Museum of ContemporaryArt, 1984), xv.
tario:MacdonaldStewartArt Center,1987); 36 Edmund Carpenter, Eskimo Realities (New
authenticity." 23 This ledgerbookis in the MissouriHistorical
and Marion Jackson, "Baker Lake Inuit DrawingsA: Studyin theEvolutionof Artistic
York: Holt, Rinehart,and Winston, 1973), 192-97.
Society, St. Louis. Four other drawingsby Self-ConsciousnessP,"h.D.diss.,Universityof 37 Parry(citedinn. 1above),46.
Wo-Haware in the collectionof the Smithso- MichiganA, nnArbor,1985.
38 David Leventhal, The Past Is a Foreign
nianInstitutionW, ashingtonD, .C.
28 Thisdrawingis oneof a collectionof over1,800 Country(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity
24 It wasunequaledin NativeAmericanartuntil commissioneidn 1964byTerryRyaninseveral Press,1985),xvii,259.
the 1970sand 1980sbroughta waveof social critique and self-examinationin American Indianpaintingin workslike The Vacation
ArcticcommunitiesF. ormoreinformations,ee 39 Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive Blodgett(cited in n. 27 above):for a brief (New Brunswick,N.J.: Rutgers University historyof the traditionof drawingamongthe Press,1974),113-14,208.
(1977) by AlfredYoungMan (illustratedin Inuit,seeesp.pp. 15-32;forotherdrawingsby 40Carpenter(cited in n. 36 above), 197; and
Jamake Highwater, The Sweet Grass Lives On Nutarak,seefigs.64-70.
Cecelia F. Klein, "EskimoArt: A Review
[New York:Lippencottand Crowell,1980], 29 ThesyllabicwritingsystemusedbytheTnuiits
Essay," American Indian Culture and Re-
187) and The Collector #5 or Osage with van
an adaptationof one devisedby a nineteenth- search Journal 5, no. 1 (1981): 93-98.
Gogh by T. C. Cannon and Wherefrom Here?
centurymissionaryforusebytheCreeIndians 41 Parry (cited in n. 1 above), 42.
(1980) by VirginiaStroud(bothillustratedin in Canada. See Ken Harper, "Writingin
Summer 1990
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