The Value of Integrity

Shan Goshorn
5” X 5” X 7”
Arches watercolor paper printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, artificial sinew

The Value of Integrity.jpg

This paper basket was created to help maintain global awareness regarding the ongoing struggle Native People face enforcing treaties and protecting the natural resources of our first mother, The Earth.

Inspired by the Water Protectors of Standing Rock, SD, the interior features the official Lakota tribal press release from Chairman Archambault announcing Indigenous efforts to enforce treaties forged with the U.S. The exterior combines the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 (granting the land in dispute to the Lakota tribe) with Chairman Archambault’s address to the United Nations describing the tribe’s sacred relationship to the land and to sovereignty itself. His words also include reference to the ancient Black Snake prophecy that foretells the coming of a huge black snake that will overtake the land, poisoning everything it touches. This visual metaphor has been interpreted to represent oil pipelines.

Treaties were taken very seriously by Native People- promises made during these negotiations were considered sacred and expected to last “as long as the waters shall flow.” It was unthinkable that the treaty vows might not even last through the signing of the documents.

Woven in the style of a traditional Cherokee basket, the “Chain” pattern- evident around the rim- signifies the link of the treaties to the land. The barely discernible “X” pattern on the sides of the basket signifies the fading worth of the signatures on treaties.

Interior colors are land, water and air pigments - the basket is holding dear the elements that are under threat by non-tribal forces.