indian graffiti

4

1973 - After white businessman Darold Schmidt was charged with involuntary manslaughter instead of Murder after stabbing Wesley Bad Heart Bull to death on the Pine Ridge reservation more than 200 members of the American Indian Movement, or AIM, arrived for the hearing at the courthouse in Custer. Sarah Bad Heart Bull, the victim’s mother, was beaten on the courthouse steps while trying to enter into talks with authorities, after which the courthouse erupted into a riot between police and American Indians, during which AIM burned down the courthouse. [video]

#changethename #changethemascot #notyourmascot

In between performances, I paint. This is a mural I design and produced this weekend in the heart of Washington DC. The dialog happening around the mascot issue is ongoing, and often times repetitive and exhausting. The thing I love about art is the commentary mixes it up nicely by offering perspective not seen in the mass media rhetoric concerning the issue. You can’t buy us off. You can’t tell us we don’t matter, no matter how nicely you dress it up. You can’t dismiss the history of our people and the way America has considered us, treated us, and continues to dismisses us. Your efforts to eradicate Indigenous people has failed, and we will forever be a thorn in the side of those unwilling to yield to Indigenous people’s place in the world and on this continent. There are bigger issues in Indian Country, but few issues illustrate so publicly the inept relationship America has with Indian Country. If it’s such a small issue, then change it. If you want to truly honor us, honor us by changing the name, and taking Indigenous mascots out of the mix. Commodify yourselves, your own history, your own culture. Respect Indigenous people, Indigenous culture, Indigenous language, Indigenous traditions, Indigenous identity and Indigenous opinion. #changethename we are #notyourmascot.

(photo by Dakota Fine)