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Inspired Strength

Shan Goshorn 
2016 
4.25” X 4.25” X 7.25" 
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, artificial sinew

The rust colored splints of this single-weave Cherokee style basket include words written by my grandmother, describing unpleasant memories from her years at boardingschool. Many such institutions used the motto "Kill the Indian, save the man,” a sentiment conceived at the Carlisle Indian Boarding School. With the goal of assimilating native children into white culture, students were often punished severely and frequently for infractions such as "acting Indian.” These splints are woven with a contemporary writing in the Cherokee syllabary by a Cherokee man expressing what it is like to grow up- and be- Cherokee.

I combined these documents to illustrate the way native people continue to rely on traditional teachings to assist us in overcoming difficult obstacles.

The basketry pattern is a traditional one called “Eye of the Sacred Bird.”