Separating The Chaff

Shan Goshorn
20 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 7”
Arches watercolor paper splints, first printed with archival inks, acrylic paint

Many tribes share this functional shape, called a winnowing or sifter basket. The basket is filled with cracked grains and when gently shaken, the large weave at the base allows the larger husk or shaft to drop below while retaining the desirable kernel.

These splints are printed with illustrations and text from 1960‘s reference books about Indians. This is the way that American students learned about Indians when I was in school- information that still seems to be currently taught to children around the world about Native cultures today. This basket is meant to show that Indian people need to actively decide how we want to portray ourselves; we need to actively filter through the misperceptions and untruths.

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection