White Appropriation of FN Cultural Symbols and Idiom.

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6079_Smith_W

Not only are some Indigenous people Christian, some of them wear pants and drive cars too, Magoo.

And Rev, you say it yourself at 190 - that perhaps the name of the community is omitted to have it be a generic representation.

That is taking stuff out of the context of the people and community  who built it. Those crosses in the picture mark the resting place of real people. How do their families feel about not being identified?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Not only are some Indigenous people Christian, some of them wear pants and drive cars too, Magoo.

So those are all "Indigenous stuff" now?

voice of the damned

Question for clarification...

Is the case against Carr's painting that it used a racial slur in the title, or that it appropriated Indigenous culture?

Smith wrote:

Those crosses in the picture mark the resting place of real people. How do their families feel about not being identified?

If that's the objection, it's not going to be redressed by changing the name of the painting.

6079_Smith_W

It is their community church, Magoo. They built it. You have no problem thinking your stuff is your stuff even though it is all sitting on land we took from them. If you want to get right down to it this whole nation is Indigenous stuff. Problem is we have been doing our best to erase that legacy.

How often do you see a painting of Notre Dame Des Lourdes titled "Cracker Box"? Never. And while we do see buildings that are used in a representational way, it doesn't come along with all the baggage that "noble white guy" culture is a dead thing that belongs in the past, because we have the connections to our culture. Appropriation - white people taking Indigenous art, images of Indigenous people, and Indigenous names - is one of the things that has erased their culture.

And VOTD, if you name the community, you know the culture and the people from that culture do know the connection. No different than when you see a named picture of a town, or a battle, or a ship that you might have some family connection to. We take care of those details in our art because we care about our culture. With other cultures we tend to just take it and forget the details, because like everything else, we just assume it is ours to use, but we aren't interested in the people living today who have that connection.

That's why it is a far bigger problem when this is done to Indigenous people and other cultures than when we see a painting of a generic farmhouse.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W:

It is their community church, Magoo. They built it.

But in looking at it, I see a building that is built to a European plan. Was that cultural appropriation? If not, why not? Or did they just assume it was 'theirs to use'?

Even the crosses in the churchyard. So far as I know, the cross was not a native symbol, it was a symbol brought by the christians.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
How often do you see a painting of Notre Dame Des Lourdes titled "Cracker Box"? Never.

Well, there was that one painting, but since "Cracker" might be offensive to poor whites, it was renamed to "Notre Dame Des Lourdes".

Of course I totally supported that name change, since I'm white and poor.  I'm really only opposing this one because I'm clearly racist.

Quote:
And VOTD, if you name the community, you know the culture and the people from that culture do know the connection.

Um, what?

Why didn't the new name just include the names of the people in those graves?  I didn't know who they were with the old name, and I don't know who they are with the new one either.

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And Rev, white people taking Indigenous culture and images and using it as a representation is precisely what appropriation is. Whatever Carr's intent was, if you are arguing in favour of that, well we have plenty of examples of that on nickels, in front of cigar stores, on sport team logos, and car names.

Spinning this in that way is probably somewhere in the category of "noble" stereotypes that we also see all over the damned place, and which aren't much better because it is still white people making up stuff.

That is why adding the context of which community it is isn't just erasing the racist name, it is adding that context, and hopefully what Carr's real intent may have been.

 

 

So now.... if someone merely paints a picture of a structure that happens to be in an Indigenous community, that is appropriation....such that consultation is required with whichever peoples are from that community up to and including deciding what to name it?

Okey dokey.

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Not only are some Indigenous people Christian, some of them wear pants and drive cars too, Magoo.

And Rev, you say it yourself at 190 - that perhaps the name of the community is omitted to have it be a generic representation.

That is taking stuff out of the context of the people and community  who built it. Those crosses in the picture mark the resting place of real people. How do their families feel about not being identified?

Um.  What?

You can't be serious.

Would you feel the same if the crosses represented the graves of, oh I don't know.  Anyone else on earth?

ETA: Sorry to repeat points made by others.  I'm honestly floored by the direction of this.

pookie

One of the interesting phenoms lately is Indigenous fashion.  There was an Indigenous Fashion week recently, and I found this amazing designer.

Emme.

I've also read some articles addressing the obvious questions that arise in wearing such fashion given the current climate. One pointer made by an indigenous designer was to "become familiar with the meaning of the clothes", and to "wear them with the right intent".

I mean, at a certain point, I just want to buy clothes.  And, how on earth is someone else to discern my intent in wearing anything?

It seems complicated and is enough to dissaude me from entering the space, as lovely as the things are and as much I would like to support people like this.

6079_Smith_W

@ pookie

Well be floored. It isn't just a picture. It is a picture of a real place. And if the distinction doesn't seem important maybe it is because we haven't had our culture systematically stolen and erased - something which Indigenous people ant those from other cultures understand all too well. Bottom line is that this is a decision which was made in co
nsultation with the residents.

Not to dismiss the arguments here but it is really discouraging when the most important thing in even simple situations like this is how it might inconvenience white people. If we can't even manage this how can we hope to deal with the much harder unresolved issues that are there?When it gets right down to it you can wear whatever you want. Not saying it is your intent but there is ripoed off Indigenous patterns a surely everywhere. That's why this is an issue, your example notwithstanding.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I don't know if this is the very best thread for this, but there it was, at the top of the pile, and it didn't seem totally incongruent, so:

Ottawa planning law to recognize Indigenous language rights

Quote:
The federal government plans to recognize Indigenous languages as a constitutional right and create a new office of commissioners to protect and promote them under new legislation this fall, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says.

Sounds reasonable.   At least one province makes a special case for protecting their colonial language, so this seems fair, going on face value.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Not to dismiss the arguments here but it is really discouraging when the most important thing in even simple situations like this is how it might inconvenience white people. If we can't even manage this how can we hope to deal with the much harder unresolved issues that are there?

Agreed. For many Indigenous people I have met, it just feels like one slap after another.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Not to dismiss the arguments here but it is really discouraging when the most important thing in even simple situations like this is how it might inconvenience white people.

I'm not arguing because it somehow "inconveniences" me.  I just think it's a bit inappropriate to rename an art work.

Is there a way to say something like that at rabble now?  Like "no, I don't hate Indigenous Canadians, but I think there's something wrong with this on principle"? 

 

pookie

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I don't know if this is the very best thread for this, but there it was, at the top of the pile, and it didn't seem totally incongruent, so:

Ottawa planning law to recognize Indigenous language rights

Quote:
The federal government plans to recognize Indigenous languages as a constitutional right and create a new office of commissioners to protect and promote them under new legislation this fall, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says.

Sounds reasonable.   At least one province makes a special case for protecting their colonial language, so this seems fair, going on face value.

I'm curious how the feds think they can "add Indigenous languages to the Constitution".  Do they think they can open negotiations on a single topic?

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:
@ pookie Well be floored. It isn't just a picture. It is a picture of a real place. And if the distinction doesn't seem important maybe it is because we haven't had our culture systematically stolen and erased - something which Indigenous people ant those from other cultures understand all too well. Bottom line is that this is a decision which was made in co nsultation with the residents. Not to dismiss the arguments here but it is really discouraging when the most important thing in even simple situations like this is how it might inconvenience white people. If we can't even manage this how can we hope to deal with the much harder unresolved issues that are there?When it gets right down to it you can wear whatever you want. Not saying it is your intent but there is ripoed off Indigenous patterns a surely everywhere. That's why this is an issue, your example notwithstanding.

I might be more open to this argument if this was an actual photograph.   But it's not.  It's a freaking painting. And not even a particularly realistic one!

I mean, does your analysis extend to anyone who writes a story and gives that town and church a place in it? Or writes a song that happens to mention its name?

6079_Smith_W

Pookie, this is what the AGO did in consultation with the local co.munity. but yes it makes good sense to me, and I think I have explained why enough times
And
Magoo, who has accused you of hating anyone? Again, this always comes down to white peoples feelings.

6079_Smith_W

Intentional or not Rev, what you say at 206 is a perfect illustration of how colonialism and appropriation destroy culture and erase it in the eyes of us settlers. It isn't even their community church any more. It is ours because it has colonial symbols. So that makes it okay to erase their name and put ours in its place.
This stuff is obvious, or should be, when it involves fake dreamcatchers and totem poles. But for some reason when it involves more serious art and the intent is perhaps not so clear we see ourselves as the victims and it is Indigenous people who are calling us racists and restricting our freedom.
And the stupid thing is that the painting is unchanged. Again, if white people are losing their minds over this how are we going to deal with the more direct ways of holding up our ends of the treaties?

voice of the damned

pookie wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And Rev, white people taking Indigenous culture and images and using it as a representation is precisely what appropriation is. Whatever Carr's intent was, if you are arguing in favour of that, well we have plenty of examples of that on nickels, in front of cigar stores, on sport team logos, and car names.

Spinning this in that way is probably somewhere in the category of "noble" stereotypes that we also see all over the damned place, and which aren't much better because it is still white people making up stuff.

That is why adding the context of which community it is isn't just erasing the racist name, it is adding that context, and hopefully what Carr's real intent may have been.

 

 

So now.... if someone merely paints a picture of a structure that happens to be in an Indigenous community, that is appropriation....such that consultation is required with whichever peoples are from that community up to and including deciding what to name it?

Okey dokey.

it occurs to me that, if you want people t0 really understand the First Nations connection to the church, then "Indian Church" was the better title, because it pretty clearly indicates that the people who worshipped there were mostly from the cultural group now known as First Nations.

Whereas "Church In Yuquot Village" just tells us where the church is, nothing about who attended services there. Yes, "Yuquot Village" seems likely to be a First Nations name, but so do a zillion other place names in Canada, many of which host churches with little significant First Nations membership.

Of course, a third choice would have been to re-name it First Nations church, though that might give viewers an inaccurate idea about when that particular terminology entered the vernacular in Canada.

 

NDPP

I sure hope that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the American Indian Movement gets the memo from babble 'progressives' soon. And 'First Nation' was a bon-bon term devised by Justice and DIA to evade international legal definitions and recognized rights of 'Nations'. It more correctly refers to the administrative unit of Canada, the Indian Act Band Council.

6079_Smith_W

This is about our actions and our ways of thinking, NDPP. There's nothing for them to get because I expect they are far more aware of this than any of us are.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W:

Intentional or not Rev, what you say at 206 is a perfect illustration of how colonialism and appropriation destroy culture and erase it in the eyes of us settlers. It isn't even their community church any more. It is ours because it has colonial symbols. So that makes it okay to erase their name and put ours in its place.

Us settlers? You mean 'this settler'. So, where are you from?

All I pointed out was that the design of the church is an fine example of 'settler' architecture, and the crosses are a common element of 'settler' religion (but neither is a part of First Nations culture).

Tell me this; can white people play the blues? Can black people play Beethoven? 

 

6079_Smith_W

Sure white guys can play the blues. The problem is the ones who steal it, and our culture which throws money at the thieves, and shuts out the original creators. Just one example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Led_Zeppelin_songs_written_or_insp...

The fact you are even asking that dumb question is another aspect of the same problem:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/drake-grammys-hiphop-rap-1.4421203

Do I need to remind you that Carr's artistic career is based on FN art and imagery, and that she called this particular piece "Indian Church", even if she didn't bother to give credit to the people who built it? Maybe we're conveniently forgetting that too.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Sure white guys can play the blues. The problem is the ones who steal it

What's the difference, in your opinion, between the ones who can play it, and the ones who steal it?  Examples might help.

6079_Smith_W

I guess you didn't bother to read the example I gave. Not bothering to pay or credit the person who wrote the tune is a good example. Just saying the name "Led Zepplin" should be enough if you are at all familiar with those they took their songs from. The fact some are oblivious to it, well that's an example in itself.

Same goes for stations who only play the white covers of tunes, and awards that shut out artists, and whole genres of music.

 

 

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W:

Do I need to remind you that Carr's artistic career is based on FN art and imagery,

No it's not.

voice of the damned

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Sure white guys can play the blues. The problem is the ones who steal it

What's the difference, in your opinion, between the ones who can play it, and the ones who steal it?  Examples might help.

Well, the least wealthy member of the Rolling Stones has almost certainly made more money than Muddy Waters did in his entire career.

On the other hand, Muddy Waters almost certainly made more money than any of the traditional African musicians whose music inspired the blues. So yeah, the dividing line between the robbers and the robbed can be kind of blurry at times.

I guess you could argue that Muddy Waters was prevented from reaching his full renumerative potential at least in part by Jim Crow, as well as the more general unwillingness of white audiences to listen to black musicians, whereas the Stones, being white, faced no such disadvantages. Though even there, Muddy Waters probably had an advantage over an African trying to make a living by performing traditional African music in mid-20th Century USA, for reasons related to cultural hostility, albeit not race.

6079_Smith_W

Good points, but Muddy Waters wrote his own songs.

My copy of Let it Bleed says "all selections written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards" - Including Love in Vain, which is Robert Johnson's song word for word.

Similar thing with Stop Breakin Down, except they claimed it was "traditional", even though there are plenty of 78s with Robert Johnson's name on it.

It took a lawsuit to establish that the copyright belonged to Robert Johnson's estate.

So no, most of this stuff isn't blurry at all, and what they (and Led Zepplin, and others) did went beyond simple privilege.

What might they have done differently? Well around the same time another British blues band, Fleetwood Mac, went into the studio with the artists they drew inspiration from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleetwood_Mac_in_Chicago

 

6079_Smith_W

Here's an interesting take on all this - Sonny Assu (the same artist who said in that article upthread that he disagreed with renaming Carr's piece because it removed the colonial aspect of the work) in "dialogue" with Emily Carr:

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2017/01/03/Sonny-Assu-We-Come-to-Witness/

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-wednesday-january-18-2017-1.39379...

 

 

Sean in Ottawa
6079_Smith_W

Yup. I was also shocked when after that boxing match the deal was that he cut off Senator Brazeau's long hair. I don't care if they both agreed to it, or that he would have gotten the same if he had lost. The imagery of that is just unbelievable.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

So no, most of this stuff isn't blurry at all,

Strangely enough, the specific example you used is quite murky. Portions of "Love In Vain", some of the melody and some of the lyrics, were taken from other artists. That would not have been odd in those days as most of the blues songs were not copyrighted, and in fact were evolved versions of field hollers and folk songs.

And those folk songs were often of European origin, so they played their role in the blues as well. In fact, if you try to separate out the various elements that make up American popular music, you'll find it's not possible. If the vaarious composers and musicians hadn't engaged in 'cultural appropriation' most of that music wouldn't exist.

Oh, and just in case it comes up, plagiarizing someone's copyright material is not the same as cultural appropriation. 

I'll leave you with this. There are many thousands of blues songs out there, a majority of which have the same musical structure and lyrics. Blues is not a form that encourages innovation. So, where do we pay the royalties?

voice of the damned

Pesky wrote:

Oh, and just in case it comes up, plagiarizing someone's copyright material is not the same as cultural appropriation. 

Yeah, I've never thought that the idea of cultural appropriation was dependent upon particular works of art being directly plagiarized(although plagiarism could be an aspect of it). I've always taken it to mean that someone appropriates an overall style pioneered by some other cultural group.

Kurt Cobain could be plausibly accused of cultural appropriation with his cover of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?", even though he gave full credit to Lead Belly. Because Cobain was white, and to boot was likely making more money from his performance that Lead Belly ever did.

Back to my original point, Lead Belly in turn was likely making more money and attaining more popularity than the traditional African musicians who had influenced him.

6079_Smith_W

I think equating an artist playing within a tradition with a word-for-word theft by a white artist is pretty flimsy. Same thing for implying that Muddy Waters and other artists were somehow taking advantage because they weren't forced into slavery. In the first place the modern music industry didn't exist before electricity, and they were still living in a deeply racist society, where whites had already appropriated their culture into deeply insulting minstrel shows long before any African American was ever allowed on a stage. 

And it ignores the real difference, which is that this is white people taking the art and culture of others - Indigenous people, African people - twisting it into their image, and shutting out the original.

As for what happened in the blues and rock and roll era, that is documented well enough, and it still exists, there and in other areas:

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2016/10/race_rock_and_the_r...

Sure, being connected with history is important even within a tradition. If you're interested, there was a really good radio piece about hip hop that talks about the importance of knowing the history. It starts around the 20 minute mark:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/nowornever/celebrating-black-creatives-in-canada...

But it is in no way the same thing as white appropriation.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I think equating an artist playing within a tradition with a word-for-word theft by a white artist is pretty flimsy.

I agree with you 100%. But it was you who posted the article about Led Zeppelin stealing songs. Or did you forget that post already?

further from same:

Same thing for implying that Muddy Waters and other artists were somehow taking advantage because they weren't forced into slavery.

What? Muddy Waters was born in 1915, about 50 years after the end of slavery.

further from same:

In the first place the modern music industry didn't exist before electricity,

By the time Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon and others came along, electricity was pretty common. And I must say, I'm not exactly sure what relevance that has anyhow. 

further from same:

where whites had already appropriated their culture into deeply insulting minstrel shows long before any African American was ever allowed on a stage. 

Perhaps we can use the song 'Goodnight Irene' as an example. It was written by an African-American named Gussie Davis. According to Wikipedia:

Gussie Davis

In 1886, when Propheter branched out his business to New York and Tin Pan Alley, Davis went with him. He worked steadily, performing as well as writing songs, and making a name for himself. By 1895, he was sufficiently well-known to be selected to compete in a contest sponsored by the New York World to find the ten best songwriters in the nation; he placed second with his song, "Send Back the Picture and the Ring", and won a prize of $500 in gold. He performed as a pianist in venues such as Bergen Star Concerts and toured with minstrel groups including his own Davis Operatic and Plantation Minstrels.

Davis wrote a variety of musical forms, including sentimental ballads, comic minstrel songs, art songs, and choral music. He was best known in his own time for his "tear-jerkers". One of these was "Fatal Wedding" (1893), his first national hit; Davis composed the music, a waltz, while the words are credited to William H. Windom, a well-known ballad singer. Another tear-jerker was "In the Baggage Coach Ahead", Davis's most commercially successful composition, selling over a million copies. The success of "In the Baggage Coach" was fueled by the popular female vaudeville singer, Imogene Comer, who made it part of her regular repertoire.

 

 

 

Paladin1

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Sure white guys can play the blues. The problem is the ones who steal it

What's the difference, in your opinion, between the ones who can play it, and the ones who steal it?  Examples might help.

 

Macklemore's Grammy Win Over Kendrick Lamar, ya?

6079_Smith_W

Rev Pesky wrote:

Same thing for implying that Muddy Waters and other artists were somehow taking advantage because they weren't forced into slavery.

What? Muddy Waters was born in 1915, about 50 years after the end of slavery.

You mentioned "field hollers" in 232. Surely you know what that is a reference to. And why African Americans had no place in American popular music until decades after the end of slavery. Though in fact, Muddy Waters did do farm work before he became famous.

This equation of African American artists with white artists' theft of black blues and rock and roll is frankly ridiculous. Nobody got sidelined on account of Muddy Waters or Howlin Wolf. They were the ones who couldn't get played on many radio stations.

6079_Smith_W

For that matter, what was "black music" very often came down to who was holding the microphone:

https://www.wnyc.org/story/how-alan-lomax-segregated-music/

And the split between country and "race" music, which primarily came down to the colour of the artist's skin. 

https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2013/08/23/213852227/race-and-cou...

Other reasons why this is less about "who can play the blues" and more about non-white artists being shut out from airplay, venues and awards, and having their music stolen because of racism. And there are parallels in appropriation of Indigenous culture, and other non-white cultures as well.

voice of the damned

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

Same thing for implying that Muddy Waters and other artists were somehow taking advantage because they weren't forced into slavery.

What? Muddy Waters was born in 1915, about 50 years after the end of slavery.

You mentioned "field hollers" in 232. Surely you know what that is a reference to. And why African Americans had no place in American popular music until decades after the end of slavery. Though in fact, Muddy Waters did do farm work before he became famous.

This equation of African American artists with white artists' theft of black blues and rock and roll is frankly ridiculous. Nobody got sidelined on account of Muddy Waters or Howlin Wolf. They were the ones who couldn't get played on many radio stations.

Well, actually, my comparison was not between Muddy Waters and slaves, but Muddy Waters and traditional musicians in Africa.

An African playing traditional music contemperaneously with Waters' early career would not likely have been able to get a visa to enter the USA to record and perform. Nor would staying in Africa do much for his career, since he probably wouldn't have had access to suitable recording venues in what were then highly underdeveloped colonies.

And yet Waters was able to do all the things that were denied to the African musician, while playing music pioneered by the latter's culture. Sure, he couldn't get played on a lot of stations, but he was still doing a lot better than the people he "ripped off".

6079_Smith_W

Bit of a stretch, don't you think? Making up some imaginary comparison rather than acknowledging the crucible of slavery and Jim Crow which African American culture really came through? Besides, African music styles have the same roots, but they are not the same.

Especially when you consider that in the early part of the last century many African American artists were fleeing the states for Europe so they could have the freedom to perform in the way they wanted to.

And again, especially since many of these artists, including Muddy Waters, grew up on plantations, and in poverty, and suffered discrimination throughout their careers. All the while watching white artists get airplay and make millions .

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Do I need to remind you that Carr's artistic career is based on FN art and imagery, and that she called this particular piece "Indian Church", even if she didn't bother to give credit to the people who built it? Maybe we're conveniently forgetting that too.

You are absolutely wrong. Her art was based on the forest she loved. In that forest she found many First Nations artifacts. She did not reproduce native art she produced landscapes on canvasses. By the way the crosses in the picture of the church at Yuquot Village (Friendly Cove) were basically figments of her imagination not an actual graveyard. It was a stylized painting of an old church and had nothing to do with appropriating anyone's culture or art. In fact if one wants to read anything into this painting I think it is very good that the site of first contact on this coast has a shitload of crosses added to it. She was not downplaying the loss of indigenous lives but if anything highlighting it.  The title of the picture was a name that no one including indigenous people would have complained about in 1930. Now if we want to get serious about reconcilliation lets go to really awful names like the Indian Act and Indian Band Counsels.

6079_Smith_W

Well kropotkin, the people who live in that community seemed to think otherwise in 2018.

And I am not surprised some don't see Indigenous culture in Emily Carr's paintings, and just interpret it as part of the natural forest landscape like the squirrels and birds and other wildlife. Terra nullius, right?

It's a lot easier for us to just see a still life, and not have to understand what it means, or think about our relationship with it.

Did you read Sonny Assu's take on it at 229?

“What a Nice Spot for a Walmart” makes one of those statements, bringing into dialogue the complications of First Nations bands leasing land to corporations. The original Carr painting depicts the Campbell River Indian Band’s cemetery, near which Assu now lives in the house his grandmother built. The totem pole in the painting, he notes, is no longer there.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

69079 You have it ass backwards. If she went around the Salish Sea and ignored the indigenous villages and artifacts that are everywhere on the coast where people have lived for thousands of years then she would have been denying they existed.

The quote about Campbell River tells me you should just put the shovel down. Campbell River is on the other side of the Island from Nootka Island where the church is and was the territory of a different First Nation. Here is a link to the First Nation that claims Nootka Island as unceded territory. If you want to get into real First nations politics then one has to ask who the Art Gallery talked too about the painting. The Mowachaht / Muchalaht people are one of 14 First Nations who belong to the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Yuquot village has been designated as a National Historic Site. If I go there and take pictures of this national historic site and make a painting about it would you consider that cultural appropriation?

http://www.yuquot.ca/yuquot.html

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Do you think I was assuming it was about the same painting? No actually, I was giving you an example of what one artist thinks about Carr's interpretation of his community.

Should have been obvious, since there is mention of a totem pole, and there is no totem pole in "Church at Yuquot Village". And it's Campbell River.

I also posted Assu's comment to point out that these aren't just dead wild places that are part of the landscape, or a "documentation of (a) dying and vanishing race", another of his criticisms.

Of course one can take a picture of an Indigenous site without it being appropriation. But we are talking about one of Canada's greatest artists, whose work is closely linked with Indigenous art and culture (or more exactly, a white take on it), and this particular piece not only used the word "Indian", it leaves out the name of the community. So whatever her intent, in that respect it hasn't aged well.

Getting all defensive and seeing it as an attack on Carr or white people's freedom is rather missing the point - that whether you think the name should be changed or not (and again, Sonny Assu thought it should have been left) her works should be seen in their colonial perspective.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Getting all defensive and seeing it as an attack on Carr or white people's freedom is rather missing the point - that whether you think the name should be changed or not (and again, Sonny Assu thought it should have been left) her works should be seen in their colonial perspective.

I wish you would stop trying to make me into a strawman. I said nothing like your nasty post above implies. So just go fuck yourself and your holier than thou attitude.

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin, you spent one post defending Carr and saying these observations about her art are wrong, then you ask if taking a picture of an Indigenous site and painting it is in itself appropriation.

If we want to talk about straw arguments that is a claim I did not make, and again, it really is not the point here. But I think I have said that reducing this to what white people can and cannot do is another aspect of how we appropriate others' culture.
 

(edit)

And maybe pay less attention to what I am saying, and more to what these artists, and the Gallery are saying, and how this painting has been placed in the context of other works. I have posted a couple of these articles, and have been trying to direct people there.

 

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

maybe pay less attention to what I am saying

Well, that would certainly elevate the conversation.

6079_Smith_W

Actually focusing on the topic at hand rather than playing some stupid game of gotcha like usually happens here?

You are absolutely right it would elevate the conversation.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yes it is racist to use the term Indian unless you are one or lived in an era when that was the only common usage word for indigenous people. This attack on the only major female artist of her time is way better than actually talking about UNDRIP and how no political party in the country will acknowledge more than a pittance of sovereignty for First Nations. Identity politics helps keep the debate away from anything meaningful.

What I find so sad about this story is the fact that it was not the First Nations from the Coast who initiated this name change it was someone who is NOT a member of that culture. Its like any indigenous person is the same and all their cultures are the same. That is how I see the reaction of the Art Gallery.

https://www.ubcic.bc.ca/

https://aimovement.org/

 

6079_Smith_W

Nobody is attacking Carr, kropotkin. I'd say her place as a great artist is pretty solid. It's not like they are consigning her painting to the broom closet, as they are doing with some statues nowadays. Church at Yuquot Village is in a very prominent position in a room with a number of other great works, and its place there is important. At least that is the impression I got when I saw it a few weeks ago.

But it isn't the turn of the last century anymore, and her talent and status is no reason not to pay attention to Indigenous people when they point out that her portrayal of their culture is a colonial distortion.

This is less about her than it is about us and how we react when we see our icons and our history and our idea of art re-examined. 

If you didn't catch the article at 199, I recommend reading it:

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/opinion/2018/04/24/one-...

I agree with you about those political fronts. This is how art fights that same fight. As for who initiated this, should we really sit around and just wait to be told to do the right thing? Seems to me it is enough that they went to the people of the community and asked.

 

 

 

 

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Actually focusing on the topic at hand

It wasn't me who got off on a tangent about copyright infringement, but whatever.

​Here's an 'on topic' question. Is this cultural appropriation thing a two-way street. That is, if you oppose cultural appropriation, do you oppose it when it is non-European artists who are 'appropriating' European culture? In other words, are you opposed to cultural appropriation in principle, or is it only a problem when certain groups do it?

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