Hearts of Our Women
Center basket approx 8” X 8” X 26” 10 smaller baskets - approx 4” X 4” X 4” each
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, copper foil
A Nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is finished, no matter how brave its warriors or how strong its weapons~ Cheyenne
When I was doing research among historical photographs of the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Anthropological Archives (Smithsonian Institution) I was struck with the realization that most of the studio portraits featured Indian men, not women. And most of the women who were photographed were identified as if they were the chattel of men, i.e. “Squaw of Spotted Tail” or “Little Soldier’s Squaw”. The viewer should understand that the term “squaw” is not a favorable one but rather the Algonquin word for vagina - indicating the white newcomers’ perceived worth of Indian women. I felt very fiercely that these beautiful, strong women, who were representative of a variety of Indigenous Nations, deserved recognition and honor beyond these labels. I wanted to demonstrate how they personify the passion of our tribes, tending the home fires of tradition. I was profoundly inspired by the above Cheyenne quote. I also wanted to pay homage to extraordinary women of all tribes both past and present. I made an online request for the nominations of names of such women and received over 700 within 48 hours. Each name has been woven into the interior of the basket to honor those women who’ve impacted our lives in some way.