11.5” X 4.25” X 4.24”
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, artificial sinew
The blue, vertical splints on this Cherokee style basket reproduce names from the Carlisle Indian Boarding School official student roster. This institution was the brainchild of Captain Richard H. Pratt and was an attempt to assimilate Indian children into white society by removing them from their homes and teaching government approved lessons. Pratt’s coined phrase “Kill the Indian, save the man” became the unofficial mission statement for this school and others that soon followed. Students were completely denied their traditional culture, including the use of their native tongue. Infractions were frequent and often severe for disobedience such as “acting Indian.”
Also combined in this piece are portions from eight different treaties between the U.S. Government and a vast sampling of Native Nations. They are identified in woven order from top to bottom (two are duplicated): Horse Creek, Canandaigua, Medicine Lodge, California, Navajo, Muscogee, New Echota, Medicine Lodge, Canandaigua, and Ft. Wayne. Generally speaking, these treaties resulted in major land loss and relocation for Indian people.
The pattern is a variation of a traditional Cherokee one called “Unbroken Friendship,” but I am using it to illustrate how closely these government sanctioned policies were used to eliminate the first people of this country.