Cloaked in Sovereignty
9” X 9” X 16”
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, copper foil
Cherokees made clothing wraps fashioned from feathers for warmth and protection. Surprisingly warm and exceedingly beautiful, they also could represent the mantle of leadership. Chiefs were the only ones allowed to wear turkey feather capes. The case of Worcester v. Georgia, 1832, established the legal principle of “tribal sovereignty”. Justice John Marshall’s decision set the precedent for the US Government to recognize nation-to-nation dealings when negotiating with Indian tribes. This basket is symbolically wrapped with a Chief’s turkey feather cape to illustrate the sovereignty of Indian nations.
Splints on the interior of this piece are printed with a reproduction of Cherokee principal Chief John Ross’s appeal to the Senate and House of Representatives in 1836, regarding the “spurious (fake/bogus) delegations” which supposedly represented the Cherokee in signing the Treaty of New Echota, illegally resulting in the removal of the tribe, i.e. The Trail of Tears. The last sentence of his letter reads “And, therefore, we, the parties to be affected by the result, appeal with confidence to the justice, the magnanimity, the compassion, of your honorable bodies, against the enforcement, on us, of the provisions of a compact, in the formation of which we have had no agency.” Unfortunately, his words did not inspire Congress to reconsider this nefarious scheme and the Cherokee were removed by force to Oklahoma.