By Sascha T. Scott
Interested in the wealthy ceremonial lifestyles and distinct structure of the recent Mexico pueblos, many early-twentieth-century artists depicted Pueblo peoples, areas, and tradition in work. those artists’ encounters with Pueblo Indians fostered their knowledge of local political struggles and led them to hitch with Pueblo groups to champion Indian rights. during this booklet, artwork historian Sascha T. Scott examines the ways that non-Pueblo and Pueblo artists encouraged for American Indian cultures by means of confronting a number of the cultural, criminal, and political problems with the day.
Scott heavily examines the paintings of 5 diversified artists, exploring how their paintings was once formed by way of and helped to form Indian politics. She areas the paintings in the context of the interwar interval, 1915–30, a time whilst federal Indian coverage shifted clear of pressured assimilation and towards renovation of local cultures. via cautious research of work by means of Ernest L. Blumenschein, John Sloan, Marsden Hartley, and Awa Tsireh (Alfonso Roybal), Scott indicates how their depictions of thriving Pueblo lifestyles and rituals promoted cultural maintenance and challenged the pervasive romanticizing subject matter of the “vanishing Indian.” Georgia O’Keeffe’s photos of Pueblo dances, which attach abstraction with lived adventure, testify to the legacy of those political and aesthetic transformations.
Scott uses anthropology, historical past, and indigenous reports in her paintings ancient narrative. She is without doubt one of the first students to handle diverse responses to problems with cultural renovation by way of aesthetically and culturally diversified artists, together with Pueblo painters. superbly designed, this ebook positive aspects approximately sixty artistic endeavors reproduced in complete colour.
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Additional info for A Strange Mixture: The Art and Politics of Painting Pueblo Indians (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, Volume 16)
Artistic reactions to the supposedly inevitable process of assimilation and to the nostalgic feelings this process evoked widely varied in subtlety and tenor. Some artists juxtaposed traditionally dressed, defeated Indians with the forces of progress, including trains, factories, and telegraph poles, as is the case in Henry Farny’s painting Morning of a New Day (1907, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City). 11 Ernest L. Blumenschein, “The Advance of Civilization in New Mexico—The Merry- Go-Round Comes to Taos,” Harper’s Weekly 43, no.
In 1892, Dr. ” 36 In his annual report to the Office of Indian Affairs of that same year, Dorchester determined that the Pueblos’ fundamental lack of morality was rooted in their paganism. ” 37 Superintendents in New Mexico firmly believed that ceremonial practices had to be stopped so that the process of assimi lation could move forward and thus urged the Indian Bureau to enforce its policies. ” They also continued to pass their traditional knowledge on to their children, as is indicated by the young dancers in the illustration.
Policy had focused on removal, displacing thousands of American Indians to lands that were often barely inhabitable. By the late 1880s, as Indian resistance against Anglo expansion in the United States was quelled, public opinion shifted to sympathy for American Indians. Accounts of Indian mistreatment fueled this shift, the most important and influential of which was Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1881 book, A Century of Dishonor. By the late nineteenth century, Americans increasingly viewed Indian agents—authorized officials who interacted with Indians on behalf of the federal government—as corrupt, and reservations as institutions that robbed Native peoples of their dignity.