Shrouded in Grey

Shan Goshorn
Approx 11.25” x 7.75” x 8”
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, artificial sinew

Genocide. It is a horrible word that sums up the most inhumane of actions. And it is a word rarely associated with the atrocities that happened in America.

Raphael Lemkim was a brilliant Jewish attorney who escaped the Polish Nazi regime to the United States. In 1943 he coined the term “Genocide” from the Greek word genos (family, tribe, race) and –cide (Latin for killing); his United Nations approved definition was outlined by his eight key techniques required to achieve genocide which included attacks on the social, cultural, economic, biological, physical (sub points here include endangering health and mass killing), religious and moral characteristics of a people.

U.S. government sanctioned actions involving the American Indian horrifically achieved each of these points. Massacres are remembered as battles, prisons are called forts and the routine denial of native language, religion, citizenship and even food (to those sequestered in forts or on reservations) was the accepted solution to the "Indian problem” for decades. This single weave basket combines Lemkin's definition with three documents that support this claim: The Indian Removal Act of 1830 (displacement from homelands), The Medicine Lodge Treaty (land loss) and names of children on the Carlisle Indian Boarding School student roster (removal of children from their homes in order to force government approved ideas on them).

The title references the burial shroud, serving as a testament to the extraordinary amount of lives lost as a result of military murders. It also speaks to the fact that this is clearly a black and white issue not to be clouded in political rhetoric. There can be no argument that there was a genocide in this country as surely as there was one in Europe. And we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that other indigenous people around the world are still suffering from these forms of persecution.

True healing cannot take place until this atrocity is openly acknowledged.