History Colorado hosts art by Danielle SeeWalker to showcase local urban life, merchandise |  Arts and entertainment

History Colorado hosts art by Danielle SeeWalker to showcase local urban life, merchandise | Arts and entertainment

History Colorado just unveiled a new exhibit, “But We Have Something to Say,” featuring artwork by Lakota citizen Danielle Seawalker of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The exhibition hosts SeeWalker’s contemporary art side by side with archival items from the museum’s collections.

Using a variety of mediums including acrylic on canvas and beadwork, SeeWalker uses art to explore issues important to local communities, particularly local women. Although SeeWalker is often inspired by historical photographs and objects, she wants to challenge visitors to rethink their preconceptions about local art by telling unexplored stories.

“A lot of my work is focused on storytelling,” SeeWalker said. “Every painting has a story, whether it’s a story about a boarding house or a story about cutting our hair or a story about living on a reservation or about being an urban Indian. So you know, they are also sprinkled throughout.

In developing the exhibit, SeeWalker worked with Felicia Bartley, the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Indigenous Culture and Heritage. Together, the two researched the museum’s archives and selected historical sites to tie everything together.

“A lot of the stuff – when I was going through the archives – I found to be mislabeled, misidentified objects. For example, there was something that was labeled as a belt, but I know it’s actually a hairstyle,” SeeWalker said. “It’s really disheartening and sad, but at the same time it’s been really beautiful to be able to see these sites first hand and really just see some of these pieces that I haven’t seen before.”

One idea the exhibit will explore is food—specifically looking at the impact of federally subsidized food on Native American communities. One item that will be on display is an 1888 sack of flour that was part of a ration distribution.

“This is direct evidence of these rations and what was promised to the indigenous peoples,” Bartley said. “I’m really excited about the flour sack, simply because it’s a deeper dive into the thinking of a certain time that really shaped the world that we Native people live in today.”

When Native Americans were forced to live on reservations and could no longer hunt or procure food, SeeWalker said, the federal government provided foodstuffs such as flour, butter, sugar and canned meat that their bodies were not used to, leading to unhealthy problems.

Your weekly local update on arts, entertainment and life in Colorado Springs! Delivered every Thursday to your mailbox.

Good luck! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

“The merchandise is something I grew up with, and it’s still given out to Indians on reservations today. So it’s a program that’s been going on for over a century,” SeeWalker said.

“Taking away our food sovereignty has led to some of the most devastating health disparities that our people have faced because of these foreign foods that we never had in our bodies, like sugar and flour, processed meats, things like that, etc. n. today, Indians have some of the highest rates of diabetes in the world.

The exhibit will also highlight Denver’s role in Native American urban relocation, Bartley said. This part of the exhibition will include a 1965 newsletter from the Indian Times.

“It’s a very specific look at the history of Denver when we think about local people coming from all over the US to Denver to move and try to take advantage of what the United States supposedly has to offer,” Bartley said. “I’m really excited about this newsletter, just to have it in the collection for people to look at in the future and also to promote that local people have been living in urban places for quite some time in Denver as well.”

Other historical items that will be displayed alongside SeeWalker’s work are 19th-century hair ornaments, beaded spoons, historical documents and images, and moccasins.

“Daniel and I talked and we had a really good conversation and we both get inspiration from different pieces in the collection,” Bartley said. “Let’s go through the collections together and see what interests us, and then I’ll do my due diligence and see if anything in the collection was taken ethically or not.”

By connecting with historical objects, Bartley hopes visitors leave with the understanding that Native Americans are still here.

“Local people can live in the city and just because they live in the city doesn’t make them any less local,” she said. “I hope that people can begin to understand and embrace native art as a form of historical recitation. This is not just myth, fantasy or fiction, but it is a valid form of history.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *