Untold Stories 2020: "Preserving Cultural Landscapes"

It says it’s preparing to live stream It says webinars now streaming live on YouTube. Excellent Terrific so we are up to 444 attendees Is anyone experiencing a delay between when i’m speaking and when you’re seeing me speak? Excellent okay Uh, thank you And no one’s hearing me twice? It’s just the spirit in my machine All right. Uh well I think we should get started, we’re already up to an amazing 444, uh, 455 people so i think we should get started Okay, so welcome everyone my name is Sanchita Balachandran and it is a joy to welcome almost 500 of you to today’s event “Preserving Cultural Landscapes” which is a program organized by the non-profit organization Untold Stories, which has since 2017 been dedicated to pursuing.. it’s interesting i keep hearing my own voice. Hang on Well you know what i’m just going to keep going. So our work at Untold Stories has been to pursue an art conservation profession that represents and preserves a fuller spectrum of human cultural heritage I want to begin by first acknowledging that I’m speaking to you from what is now called Baltimore but that is still a place of presence and stewardship Oh i think and let’s see if this works now i think we’ve got everyone muted Uh I’m involved in the tech which is probably why this is happening All right, please let me begin again. So I want to acknowledge that I’m speaking to you from what is now called Baltimore but that is still a place of presence and stewardship of many Native peoples. I acknowledge the presence of the Susquehannocks who call this place their ancestral homeland and i also acknowledge the presence of the Piscataway the Accohannock tribes, the Nanticokes the Lumbees and the Cherokees. And I want to acknowledge the work and generosity of Peggy Mainor of the Multicultural Initiative for Community Advancement in helping me learn the Indigenous histories of the place i’m now grateful to call home I’m speaking to you from my dining room for those of you who may not be able to see me at this time I’m a brown-skinned woman of South Asian descent I have shoulder-length curly black hair I’m wearing a red shirt and behind me is a white wall with a framed map of my neighborhood in Baltimore Sanchita, people in the chat are saying that they’re only able to see Mary Sue Yes sorry, let me fix that, thank you As I said Yes All right uh and i’m going to can everyone see everybody at this point? All right, apologies. Like I said I’m working this out in real time

All right so now you can see me at least some of you hopefully can see me and the rest of our panelists here um who are a wonderful group of people All right, so Untold Stories believes that the preservation of cultural heritage requires that our field recognize and conserve a broader range of cultural heritages embrace a more diverse set of conservation practices and practitioners and affirm the deep emotional connection between objects and sites of cultural heritage and the communities that claim them As founder and director of Untold Stories it has been especially meaningful to develop events at the annual conference of the American Institute for Conservation over the past three years with this one being the last in a series of three. In order to do this we’ve had the extraordinary support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and I want to thank past and president Mellon staff Alison Gilchrest, Abigail Choudhury, Holly Harrison and Emil Kang for their steadfast support We also could not have done this without the support of the American Institute for conservation and I want to especially thank Peggy Ellis, Suzanne Davis, Ruth Seyler and Katelin Lee for their support I’m also grateful to Beth Warshaw and Alexandra Sarkuni of Culture Trust of Greater Philadelphia for their support of the work of Untold Stories this event was supposed to take place at this year’s conference in what is now called Salt Lake City, Utah and the theme “Preserving cultural landscapes” was meant to ground us in that particular place and to really think about the historical events that had happened and are still happening there as a way to reconsider the work that we do as art conservators, museum and heritage professionals, and stewards of cultural heritage This event was also meant to make us think about how our sometimes overly myopic view of conservation as relevant only to objects or even specific institutions allows us to forget that everything and everyone is part of a much larger set of stories and histories, and that the landscapes we find ourselves in are essential to those stories and histories It’s been a tumultuous past four months and we continue to witness the devastation and grief that the covid-19 pandemic wreaks on our most vulnerable populations especially Black, Indigenous and Brown people, and we continue to witness a seemingly unending series of deaths of Black people to police brutality and systemic racism And i think it’s been hard to hold on to any sense of hope And yet we’re also witnessing what feels like at last a change is possible because of the sacrifice and determination of so many people And i feel a great sense of gratitude that in this moment we’re able to come together as a group on this platform to learn from the thoughtful speakers who are giving of their own experience, expertise and generosity and offer their perspectives on how we might think of this current moment in terms of the broader questions of how we might preserve cultural landscapes and histories. On behalf of co-organizers Anita Day and Elizabeth Salmon and myself, we are delighted to have Jacqueline Keeler, Kimi Kodani Hill and Alessandra La Rocca Link joining us today. We’re also grateful for American Sign Language interpreters Caleigh Cckenna and Mary Sue Owens as well as closed captioner Diana Nichols who’s with us today as well Just a few notes on how this event will proceed. We will hear from each of our speakers after they are briefly introduced by either Anita, Elizabeth or myself While each speaker is talking, we will see hopefully that individual and one of the ASL interpreters as well as some images Please bear with me as we make some of these transitions. As I said, I am your technical support for this event and clearly I already have a few things that required your indulgence and good humor So if and when things go wrong if you would write something with the words “tech” into the Q and A box so that one of us can see what’s happening and and do our best to fix it Once all of our speakers have presented, we will come back together and take some questions from the Q and A only so if you have questions please type directly into the Q and A and we’ll do our best to manage that We’ve left the chat feature open because we’re aware of how it can build a sense of community especially when we can’t see each other and we can’t be with each other We just ask that you use that feature mindfully and if you haven’t already done so, we invite you to type in and acknowledge whose ancestral and unceded lands you are watching from So this event i believe is being recorded and

is live streaming on youtube right now thank goodness And we hope that this recording will appear on our website within the next couple of days. Thank you again for all being here We are up to 479 attendees and if at this point as we transition to our first speaker Jacqueline Keeler if everybody else except for Jacqueline and either kaylee or mary sue would turn off your videos and of course mute your audio, we can get started Great, excellent, all right Terrific. Jacqueline Keeler is Dine/Inhanktowan Dakota, I hope I’ve said that correctly. She’s a writer living in Portland, Oregon and she’s contributed to many publications including the Nation Yes Magazine and Salon. Her terrific book “The Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bear’s Ears” has been published by Torrey House Press and her forthcoming book “Standing Rock to the Bundy Standoff: Occupation, Native Sovereignty and the Fight for Sacred Landscapes” will be out next month. She’s the creator of the hashtag #NotYourMascot which made incredible history just last week and continues to do so And if you follow her twitter feed @jf keeler you know that she works tirelessly in her writing, reporting and podcasting to center Indigenous voices and stories And if you have the opportunity to read this book, i would highly recommend it. i came across it actually when I was traveling in the region that this book is dedicated to at the time when the current presidential administration was planning to shrink the size of that national monument and subsequently did and really moved to remove Native claims to stewardship there. And her work really just remarkably conveys the kind of you know poignant connectedness between Native people and their landscapes so i think it’s recommended oh actually required reading as will be her next book So i’m going to actually get rid of my video screen and i will share my her powerpoint whenever she’s ready so Jacqueline thank you so much. Okay, thank you so much Yeah, actually the name of the upcoming book is “Standoff” and then the other part you read is the sort of subtitle And where i compared the two standoffs that occurred in 2016 whichI covered as a journalist Starting in January 2016 I covered the Bundy takeovers here in Oregon The Malheur wildlife refuge and then I also covered Standing Rock which my family has a lot of ties to My grandmother’s family have deep ties to Standing Rock to that community And but yeah so sort of comparing those two and seeing them as sort of you know, kind of informing what happened with the Trump, you know the last four years with Trump and what’s going on right now as we see here in the streets in Portland And many of the things that were used at Standing Rock, that the military sort of reaction is now happening on the streets of the city i live in today and people are being snatched off the streets with no accountability so far. Okay I guess I’m ready to start. I thought I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do a land acknowledgement but I, you know, i live here in Portland which encompasses the traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Chinook, Kalapuya, Molalla, many other tribes and so i just would like to recognize them and and I also, I was going to read I don’t know if there’s time but I love this poem by Cannunpa Hanska Lugar, he’s actually a Standing Rock Lakota artist and I was invited to to do a piece honoring his work and and this is a poem that I love that he wrote: “These are not ancient artifacts./ These are not culturally specific artifacts./ “These will not be found in the historical record./ These do not shine “light on a lost civilization./ These were not dug from pits by devoted “scholars./These were not stolen from burial grounds./ “These were not gifts from a fascinated collector./These are not donations “from friends of the museum./These are trapped tools for our current battle./ “These are made of earth to slay our earth eating monsters./ “These fit in our hands./These rest on our shoulders./ “The instructions for us for use are embedded in our genetic “memory./ These are needed now and so are we./

“In this time we must remember our belonging to the earth./ “We must reestablish reverence for our land rather than resource./ “We must recall the fact that we are this place./ We must fight “We must survive.” So that was a poem by Cannunpa Hanska Lugar and i wrote a piece, an essay inspired by his work called “A Frayed Knot, Afraid Not” the two stances to indigeneity in the 21st century and so maybe they could share a link to that piece I wrote. But I think I’m ready to start the actual slideshow So Okay Will I be able to see the slides when they come up not really sure? Okay, there we go, all right. great Okay all right great So this is, i see someone’s in there from Ohlone land. Welcome And yeah I think, so this sort of composite photo encompasses a lot of what we’ve seen in the fights for cultural rights and sites and and also for water as well And these are different things that I covered as a journalist, and these are, you know, seeing how our people across the country have used, utilized their treaties, their rights, their voice, their bodies to fight for our sacred sites. And the photo on, both of these photos on the side here the one and Malheur, right, of course they were sacred They were you know there were actually grave sites that were dug up by the Bundy supporters And then also here you see you know these armed law enforcement spraying down water protectors standing in the water in the Missouri who are trying to stop a pipeline from going through a family grave, a family cemetery that used to, that was where a Lakota family used to own that land So these are all you know, it’s an ongoing battle that’s occurring. And yesterday on our podcast– I’m also the editor-in-chief of Pollen Nation Magazine which is a news magazine run by Native women journalists and we do a podcast three times a week And yesterday we interviewed Kumeyaay young people and we had done a show previously with the leadership which are fighting Trump building the wall across some of their grave sites as well. So go ahead and change the next one. I guess Oh name of poet: Cannunpa Lugar He’s from Standing Rock, although he lives and works in near Santa Fe, New Mexico. You can go ahead and change the screen This is a title I sometimes use and I’d like to point out that in these fights for cultural sites, you know when how particularly at Standing Rock, it really made the military occupations of our lands visible. And so i guess this is next one. So the on the trailer broken treaties. And so this is one of the major tools that we have that we utilize to fight for our our cultural sites and so I want to kind of give a definition of treaties because often I think a lot of Americans don’t understand what we’re saying. We say honor the treaties, right. So treaties are only entered into between sovereign nations so this is not like– I once said a story where I found that the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn Museum, that they were actually entering into treaties with all these “pretend-ians,” these fake tribes in Pennsylvania, and I was just like first of all this really misinforms the public about what treaties are. They are not, a museum cannot enter into a treaty with a bunch of fake tribes. That’s not a treaty It cheapens what they are to us and how important they are to us fighting for our rights, and so treaties are only entered into between sovereign nations. You have to be a sovereign nation to sign a treaty, right. The US senate only ratifies treaties with others, with another sovereign nation, so that’s recognizing the nationhood of our nations So our nations pre-exist the existence of the United States. Some of the first treaties the U.S signed were with Native nations and as you saw just about over a week ago, the Supreme Court, you know, recognized the treaty rights of jurisdiction over half of Oklahoma by the Muskogee Nation, the Muskogee Creek Nation and four other Oklahoma tribes as well. So this is– and another thing is, you know, signing a treaty is an act of sovereignty. It doesn’t politically disappear us. I think a lot of Americans think that once we signed the treaty like–poof– we were gone, right. No, no, it’s actually, it’s an act of sovereignty and anything under international law, you cannot

treaty away your existence that’s, not a thing, right. So anything not specifically mentioned in the treaty are retained rights and remain with the tribe and this is a very important sort of element when we’re fighting for for sites, sacred sites, particularly if they’re outside of our reservation borders. There’s rules about you know the use of accustomed places, and so there are many ways in which you know treaties are very very important to our fight for our our sacred sites I should also mention that treaties under the Constitution are the supreme law of land So, violating treaties not only violates international law but it also violates constitutional law And then these are these occupations of our lands like at Mount Rushmore where Trump was on Independence Day It was…that’s an ongoing military occupation because all of that land the Black Hills, the land north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, all of that land belongs to the Great Sioux Nation under treaty, ratified by the Senate so the continued occupation of those lands, even Mount Rushmore is actually an illegal act under international law and is maintained through military force Go ahead, you can switch the next one, you can go to the next one So i guess this is just a map to give you an idea of the lands that that the Great Sioux Nation still have some sort of claim to and you can see, I guess sort of shaped like So to the… The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 which is often cited in a lot of the cases like at Standing Rock and with the Black Hills case that is actually all of this land here and you can see that the Sioux reservations, the Lakota, Dakota Sioux reservations that remain are basically islands left after the storm And you can clearly see that states stay I mean look what South Dakota would look like, you know, look what North Dakota would look like. States exist in the disappearance of tribes So there’s always this kind of push and pull power between states and tribes and counties. Even as you saw you know, on the ground there at Standing Rock and it’s, you know so, these sorts of political entities are not benign, you know. They exist they depend on the disappearance of Native Nations to have any sort of political existence. Okay go ahead and go You can go to the next one now And the Oceti Sakowin is our name for ourselves. Sioux is not our name for ourselves So…that means the “seven council fires” of which my father’s people the Ihanktonwan are one of those council fires And then the Tetonwan the Tetonwan are another one of those Council Fires which include Sitting Bull’s people, the Hunkpapa and and the Miniconjou and all of these other groups So this is just a map of and once again this is just to show where the Great Sioux, where the treaty boundaries lie You can see where the pipeline goes through, and that and even the treaty boundary goes to the east side of the river, so the crossing should have been under the jurisdiction of the Great Sioux Nation and so this clearly shows that. And within that whole corridor, the pipeline corridor, there were a lot of artifacts found, a lot of things that were pretty unique i think I’m not sure if I have a screen that goes into it more later but definitely they were. The tribal historian went and walked that line and he actually submitted this to the court around Labor Day, right before Labor Day 2016 And the very next day, the pipeline went and actually bulldozed those sites so that the court could not address them the following monday That was when those dogs were brought in and and water protectors were bitten by dogs And so I’ll go on to the next one, that’s fine You can go to the next one, but you can see where the different sites were, and sort of the outline of the fight But mostly I wanted to show the 18… this is another map showing the 1851 Treaty unceded territories. There’s two treaties. One is the 1851 and one is the 1868 So all right, go ahead and continue

You can go into the next one. Oh, she just says I have some weird delay. Okay, all right So this is a comment by the then the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and just talking about, you know, all the sacrifices that his community has been made to make for progress, right Whether it’s the the gold in the Black Hills which you know helped bail the U.S government out of the U.S government was broke after the Civil War. Taking that gold certainly went a long way in in bringing financial well-being back to this colonial enterprise And of course you know the pipeline is yet another case And so the building of the pipeline, of course you know, was not and recently, of course the Dakota Access Pipeline was has been ordered to be stopped, completely stopped, the entire pipeline, by Judge Boasberg because of NEPA violations So because the law was not followed in this case All right here she’s going Pictures of camp make me miss it. All right, is she able to go to the next one? I’ll just go ahead and I guess read this while we’re waiting. “For centuries this government has built infrastructure “projects off the backs of indigenous people.” And it says… okay here we go, great, all right. So this is just some more photos of of the camp and and these are all the flags. I thought well there are reasons I included these photos. One was that this this was actually at the Ihanktonwan Sioux, the Ihanktonwan camp at Standing Rock and and I actually was the one, Iprovided the poles to put it up. And of course it has the Seven Council Fires on it And then here are some of the flags of many Indigenous Nations And so this is an issue of sovereignty Really a lot of these fights are won based on our political our political assertion of our sovereignty and our treaties. And this is young people. Young kids coming from the community of Cannonball, and they were taking the highway and coming into camp and they were chanting “water is life,” you know and that was really beautiful. That was a great night All right go to the next one I guess Okay great, so, well this is kind of interesting, you know, because of my book “Stand Off.” I’m doing a lot of comparison of the different ways in which rights are asserted So you see folks like the Bundys asserting their rights and they have this concept of their own sort of..you know um natural law or common law, or their rights to the land, right based on, really based on their position as as colonists who enjoy a a portion of the spoils of colonialism, right. And so I kind of looked at the sovereignty, sovereign citizen versus sovereign nation issue, and the ways in which the emphasis is really different So and I really look at the origin stories of each people as sort of a sense of where this algorithm comes from Like I see that their origin stories encode a set of behaviors which you know are continuous, and you can predict what each group is going to do based on this algorithm and and it’s encoded in their origin story. And so colonial roots. I mean, the US began primarily with a financial incentive driven by colonial interests, corporate The corporate origin of colonies and land speculation by the founding fathers And I go into this in a great deal of depth in my book. I’ll just review it very quickly here But I first started thinking about this when I was interviewing white landowners, farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and Nebraska when i was covering the Keystone XL Pipeline back in 2014 And I was talking to them and they looked at me, and they’re like, you know, “We can’t believe that our government gave powers of “governmental powers of imminent domain to a foreign company Transcanada.” And so they were completely baffled, right and I was looking at them going, don’t you know the origin story of this country? I mean you know it was all based on a corporate origins When you when you’re looking at the Virginia colony and you’re looking at this sort of corporations… These early corporations, these joint stock companies

that were…that funded colonization and exploration And so many of the states themselves, their origin stories are based in this corporate model, right. So these corporate, these early corporations were given governmental powers by the Crown to fund this, which you know, the British Crown. The English Crown at the time could not fund itself, right…so this is sort of this origin story, right, so the people story of People with the capital “P” begins with transformative contact with a spiritual being and original instructions, right. So this is a very different paradigm that has different consequences and outcomes and which I call algorithms, right So this is, you know, for my father’s people in the Great Plains It was the meeting with the White Buffalo Calf Woman, right and so my lala used to say, “Before we met the White Buffalo Calf Woman we were not Dakota, “after we met her then we became Dakota Before that we were something else entirely so.” These…ceremonies and the pipe… the chanunpa, all of this represents an agreement we made with the land itself, right. The White Buffalo Calf Woman was a manifestation of the Great Plains and when we became a People of the Great Plains, then we made an agreement with Her, right And She brought us the pipe, the chanunpa, which was of course, had the had the leg bone of a buffalo of a tatanka, you know. So this was an agreement with the People of the Plains and and so in this way this is really what defines us, this is what makes We have, we share the consequences of what happens in this land, because it’s a very discrete area, right Our our lands are discrete, they’re not the entire world i think corporations are transnational, they can go anywhere, they can pollute someplace, move on somewhere else That’s not the case with Indigenous people, right. We have to we live there. This is our homeland and so we cannot use the land this way. And so this is just kind of [to] give a definition that would be useful to understand the different motives. So with the colonial endeavor…also I use it to explain why why is Standing Rock happened under the Obama administration, right. Because you know, you have to know what machine you’re driving. Like you might be the President, but what are you the President of exactly? And I make the the argument that the U.S is still a colony it may have fought a war to separate itself from its homeland but these are not its homelands These are our lands These are lands of other nations and so it is still a colonial enterprise And so if you are the President of a colonial enterprise, that’s like it’s like, the difference between driving a sports car and driving a combine harvester, right. If you’re driving a combine harvester you’re going to harvest that wheat That’s just what the machine does, right? So when you see dogs attacking Native people and their supporters over sacred sites under the Obama administration, this is because this is what the colonial machine does, right? So anyway, I’ll go on to the next screen Okay I’m at 20 minutes. Is that the end of my time? Please finish what you were saying. Okay yeah All right, well maybe I will just finish here that I was gonna get into some other aspects but I think people can ask me about some of the other things yeah maybe just scroll through This is actually from one of the first pieces i wrote about about the rights of the Burns Paiute Tribe to the land and… of course every time the Bundys come in they always claim that you know they’re there to fight for the original owners of the land and to them that is the white people, right, and themselves and so I’ve always challenged that narrative, and I learned so much talking to the Burns Paiute people and and it was really horrific when when the Bundys supporters went and took a backhoe and dug up some of the graves and built a outhouse over it This is another piece I wrote in 2014 challenging Cliven’s claims to ancestral rights to land for the Nation And here… I’m sort of comparing the armed conflict, you know the right of colonists to bear arms and One of the interesting things is my mother’s people, they call white people billagaana, and that’s often translated as white, ligai means white, right? But I often, my mom also thought it meant firehand people which could be the people of the gun, right. And so, you know looking at the different techniques strategies,

armed versus peaceful… This is a quote from Charlotte Roderick, the Burns Paiute Chairwoman And you know, about their concerns Yeah, she’s talking about how he can give land back to the Paiute Tribe “for “those who don’t know, our tribe ranged all over Nevada, Utah, “California and Southwestern Idaho We are interrelated.” And of course the the Bundys, you know have been very, not respectful of the local Paiutes in the Nevada area, particularly around Grant Gold Butte which was also made national monument at the same time Bears Ears was and that’s where Bundy actually grazes his cattle illegally. So you go to the next one, I guess But I learned a lot from…you know, I’m a citizen of the Navajo Nation My father is Ihanktonwan Sioux but I didn’t really know a lot about the Paiutes until i spent a lot of time with the Paiute Burns Tribal Council you can scroll. I ‘m just making a comparison here between the use of violence and the threat of violence by, you know, white fighters for the land They want public lands privatized compared to what Native people, the techniques Native people use This is of course the dog attacks and you can see the violence that is brought out when Native people try to and this is all over. You know this Tim Metz. He was hired by the Tribe. He found sites…really significant sites there. This is of course the the top of what that hill there you see, that was where they had their burial site. This is more violence used against Native people. This was the treaty camp They had done a forward camp closer to the pipeline and and it was violently broken up This was late in October, close to Halloween… and this was and this is actually you can see here, Red Fawn Fallis who was arrested, and I wrote about her extensively She was actually trapped in the she was…the FBI got this guy to pretend to be her boyfriend and he entrapped her So it was actually sexual assault of a Native woman sponsored by the government by the FBI and…so and then here you see more scenes from the actual, you know the fight side Standing Rock. This is at the bridge. And then many of these these militarized responses are now being used generally and you see Trump talking about doing this in all democratic cities So “The edge of morning: “Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears” is the book that I wrote, edited and you see, there are the Bears Ears And… i love this area and this is the birthplace of several native nations and about five of them were involved with the creation of the monument proposal which was done completely through consensus, through consensus and so they had decided to name it Bears Ears because they did not want to favor any particular tribe and…their traditions. But then when when Trump reduced the monument by 85 percent in early December 2017, they actually, he changed the name of part of it to and um to Shash Jáa, the Navajo word which was not the consensus decision And so you know they’ve been trying to yeah I did a whole piece, I did this whole piece that was featured..what’s that show..what’s her name? “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” I found that there was a uranium mining interest involved in opening up the Bears Ears and so I did all the research around that and was because there aren’t really any oil and gas sorts of interests but the the Bears Ears site is huge. It’s, you know, the county is the size of New Jersey and it has over 120, 000, they estimate, archaeological sites and many of them quite substantial including you know cliff dwellings My clan Kiyaa’aanii has some ties there. They are the tall, Kiyaa’aanii means “Towering House” and so there are these towers there that they believe are tied to early Navajo occupation of the area. It’s like the birthplace of it’s like the fertile crescent for many Native nations, many Native nations, like the nursery And so many of the first sort of cultural expressions of different modern Native nations are can be found here And it was being looted, and the FBI did a huge sting and… basically the locals were selling things on E-bay and other places selling artifacts and and this is a huge huge market for it When i was working on one story it was

about some being sold on E-bay a few, several years back. I was told that it’s like the second largest black market after arms dealing in the world, selling Native artifacts. So you can go ahead and go to the next screen You can go to the next screen if you want And this is Bears Ears and I wanted to include this map because there’s another map, too which is more from the view of… the Native view and I think it’s very important to take away the state lines, and even you know, national lines if you’re talking about Mexico and Canada and the US to see sort of the area through the Native eye. I think there’s a map here that does that and you can see how how all these sites are related but that this was the original site, area that they had asked to have saved So, but this was the area that was was um reduced by 85 [percent] by Trump And yeah O have a piece that came out in Sierra Magazine in the April/May issue where I go into a lot of detail on the voting rights issues that occurred here And it’s called the Fundamental Law This is my friend Regina, she’s been very active fighting for these issues This is of course the Bears Ears again You can scroll through all this Anita Dey: Thank you so much Jacqueline, we’re gonna have to wrap it up a little bit here But I believe Elizabeth Salmon is going to introduce our next speaker. Jacqueline Keeler: Okay Thank you, sure. Elizabeth Salmon: Thank you so much for that Jacqueline, that was fascinating So I am Elizabeth Salmon Hello everyone, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Kumeyaay people whose ancestral land I am presently on as I call in from San Diego which… is my hometown as well So I’m a Phd student in the conservation of material culture at UCLA and one of the Untold Stories project assistants this year And again for those who may not be seeing my video right now, I am a person of Mexican-American descent with light skin, freckles, and dark brown wavy hair I’m sitting in front of a red wall with a bookcase behind me And I’m really pleased to have the honor of introducing Kimi Kodani Hill, the granddaughter of the artist and educator Chiura Obata As family historian, Hill has consulted on numerous books and exhibitions about her grandfather including the current retrospective “Chiura Obata: An American Modern” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Her grandfather’s art is featured at the Topaz Museum in Delta, Utah at the site where he and eleven thousand Japanese-Americans were detained during World War II Hill edited the book “Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata’s Art of the Internment.” I learned about Chiura Obata’s work as a result of Kimi Kodani Hill’s commitment to telling her grandfather’s story, and it’s a story that really grounds physical art in landscape and in human experience that is so well suited to our conversation today So it’s a pleasure to welcome you Kimi Kodani Hill, and thank you for being here to share the story with us. Kimi Kodani Hill: Thank you Elizabeth, thank you Sanchita, for putting together this event Thank you for all the folks who are joining us today You know, when this event was first planned, we thought we would be in Utah I am talking to you from the ancestral lands of the Ohlone in Berkeley, California and what I decided to do today rather than focus on the artwork that my grandfather did in Utah is I’m going to show about 10 different images, 10 different art pieces and tell you some stories from my grandfather’s life and share some of his quotes We can have the first slide, and the first slide is a screen, it is titled “Moonlight in Point Lobos.” Point Lobos is currently a state park in the California state park system near Monterey Chiura Obata lived and painted in California for 65 years The California landscape was an inspiration not only for his art but for his profound reverence toward nature and his regard for nature and his philosophical approach to art and to teaching, he was an educator, always went back to his roots in japan He was born in 1885. He was the youngest of a large family and at five years old he was adopted by

an older brother, an artist and a painter in northern Japan, Sendai Obata trained as an artist from the age of seven, really as a child, under different teachers and by age 14 he was apprenticed with a master painter in tokyo. By age 17 he had won a prestigious prize and an art competition he decided he would continue his art training by going to Paris the art capital of the world. That was his plan. He would earn money first in California, and as it turned out he never made it to Europe and California would become his home So this painting is about a hundred years old, painted in 1922 It was part of an exhibit by the East West Art Society founded about that same time in San Francisco. The goal my grandfather being one of the founding members, was to unite the East and the West through sharing of art, the members being Chinese Japanese American and Russian We can have the next slide. This scroll, this painting was in that exhibition This painting is titled “Sunset in the Sacramento Valley.” So going back to this time, the 19 teens 1920s, this is in california the so-called “Yellow Peril” era which was fueled by this atmosphere of xenophobia, institutionalized racism for instance Immigrant asians were not able to own land by law. They were not able to become citizens. Anti-miscegenation laws were in effect, and this hostile environment toward Asians Chinese and Japanese was where Obata was learning and trying to thrive as an artist. And actually he himself was attacked on the streets of San Francisco, physically spat upon and hit simply because of his ethnicity for being Japanese and walking in a public space He married Haruko who was a fellow immigrant from Japan. They married in 1912 and she herself was an artist. She did the art form of ikebana, so the japanese flower arrangement art form, and she was actually key in introducing this art form to the bay area and greater California So my both my grandparents realized very early on in spite of this atmosphere of racism toward them that the arts were a way to teach an appreciation of Japanese culture and they really did dedicate their lives to trying to create a bridge of understanding between Japan and America through their arts We can have the next slide. This next image this next piece is, “Morning at Mono Lake.” Mono Lake is in the Eastern Sierras for those of you who know California So obata during his time in San Francisco as he’s raising a family and living in San Francisco, he developed friendships with artists, some of them who taught at the local universities. In 1927 Obata was invited to join one such teacher, an artist, on a camping trip to Yosemite in the high country This trip, this first meeting of Obata with Yosemite and the High sierras was a perfect moment in time. Obata was 42 years old. He had matured as an artist and he himself said when he was in his 80s, “this event “was the greatest harvest for my whole life and future” in painting.” The letters that he wrote back from this trip serve as a wonderful journal of the the things that he was responding to. For instance he said “This morning I woke up at two o’clock” “and I saw the moon shining in the woods on the river” “and in the meadow it invoked in me the days of the gods.” And in another letter he wrote, he had, he was a father now of four children. My mother had just been born actually when my grandfather was taking this great, you know, six-week camping trip He said, ” I felt keenly that the education of children was not” “in school but in letting them contact great nature” “such as this.” This is a phrase he would use for his entire career In Japanese shizen is “nature”

but he always referred to nature as daishizen “great nature” and this is how he also taught and gave painting demonstrations really for the rest of his life Can I have the next slide. There was another artist that was camping on this trip and I’ll just share this quote, it explains obata’s personality He said, “Afterwards before turning in” “for sleep Obata would bring forth his philosophies” “of life, how to remain young, how to appreciate” “every minute of existence, and time, how right it was to be happy” “and cheerful and productive, how wrong to shed tears do nothing and” “waste time and strength. That to be an artist was the best of all things.” And then this is again this is a unnamed lake in the High Sierras located in Yosemite National Park In 1928 Obata had the first one-man exhibition of his paintings for American audiences and this was at a gallery in San Francisco and really was his introduction to the greater art world in the Bay area and California. Next slide So Obata usually painted with almost always with the traditional Japanese art materials and this would be the papers the silk, special silk prepared for painting His technique was based on sumi-e: this is an ink and brush style of painting and of course the history of Japanese sumi painting has its roots in China where about about the year 900 is when the Chinese landscape painters were starting to work with their brush painting And i just want to mention this because when we look at art history, american art history and the particular landscape art history, where we often often have this reference to the Hudson River School for instance, so artists such as Bierstadt and Church and Thomas Moran, beautiful famous paintings of California, the american west, places like Yellowstone and Yosemite and if you consider that these, a lot of those artists were actually immigrants from Germany and from England, they were bringing their centuries of European art history with them to interpret the landscape So Obata is also doing the same thing bu coming with this, years, hundreds of years of history, and interpreting the California landscape, and the American landscape. And you can see this technique, this brush technique it’s so much about finding the essence and finding the spirit of the animals and the trees. It was how he would teach his students as he eventually became, the next slide, eventually became, through invitation of his friends who were artists, a teacher in the art department at UC Berkeley He started teaching in 1932 He made the UC campus one of his favorite subjects for his paintings. I like a quote that a student, one of his students told me. “I “remember, I remember walking through campus with Obata and he said” “I like to walk, it exercises my eyes.” So he was a natural teacher. The student, he was very popular. He himself had not been formally educated beyond the age of 17 but he was able to teach from his experience He said in 1939, “I always try to teach my “students beauty No one should pass through four years of” “college without being given the knowledge of beauty” “and the eyes with which to see it.” So that this photograph is you know definitely posed. The painting he’s painting is already finished but I like to show it because he is wearing hakama and montsuki, this is very formal Japanese dress for men and he was very proud of his Japanese heritage and he he dressed in this formal kimono often for the rest of his life when he gave painting demonstrations Have the next slide. This is These are words They mean harmony, respect, purity, serenity and they are precepts

precepts usually associated with tea ceremony in Japan But Obata would present them as an important way to look at art, aesthetics but also how to live one’s life For instance he said, “Harmony should include the family the town and the” “country Without it much trouble comes. We must” “respect what nature provides: fire, water, earth” “sun, even the simple weeds. Cleanliness means we must purify the senses that” “nature gives us so that we can appreciate the pure” “sounds and colors that she provides Tranquility is important if your mind is” “not smooth and calm You miss so many things.” Next slide So he was teaching at UC Berkeley that nature was the greatest teacher, and even the most mundane weed is something that is an opportunity to learn and to appreciate For instance, the seasons of life from from the birth and growth and then the dying in the autumn and the winter He said, “Nature gives us endless rhythm “and harmony in any circumstance, not only when we are on a joyous path” “but even in the depth of despair, we will see the true greatness of beauty,” “beauty of patience, beauty of sacrifice.” Next slide. So in 1941 with the outbreak of war with Japan, the war hysteria fueled the pervading anti-Asian sentiment on the west coast This resulted in the forced removal of Japanese-Americans to concentration camps It would become one of the most blatant abrogations of civil rights in U.S history and affected 120, 000 people, two-thirds of two-thirds of whom were American citizens and it would be 40 years later that the government would conclude after a commission that there was no military necessity for the internment but rather three main influences: race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership. For Obata this landslide–he’s depicting his family actually huddled together while the vortex of war is destroying the foundation of their life They were, it was also a time that Obata decided he would record what was happening to them Cameras were considered contraband such as and also weapons and radios, so how do you record what is happening to you? And for Obata it was to make sketches constantly throughout the whole process They arrived at their first temporary detention camp Tanforan and the first residence for the for the Obata family was a whitewashed horse stall Next slide. And this painting, the next one called “Regulations: the Permanent Camp” was Topaz which is in Utah, you mentioned And this shows a scene of a family at the barbed wire fence. The sign is bilingual saying in Japanese and English, “Whatever you do, do not go “beyond the fence.” And the first, you know, obvious thing if this is a family, where’s the father? Many, many of the men were separated by the FBI right after Pearl Harbor and the women, the mothers, had to try to keep these families together And then also for Obata in this in this painting being you know confined in the concentration camp but what is beyond the fence is the beautiful view of the mountains. And that was for Obata great nature and the symbol for him of freedom. Next slide So after about one year in the two camps and then for the duration of the war living in Saint Louis, immediately Obata was reinstated at the university in 1945 and they they were very lucky because many Japanese-American families came back to nothing. They had no longer had jobs and they had no housing. Either they had to really begin again As an artist he was so appreciative of of California and the nature there that he grew to love so much and he was able to return. This is a scene, a photograph taken in the Eastern Sierras. Next slide. And I’m going to end with this image. It’s titled, “A “Storm nearing Yosemite Government Center.” The

location is actually right at what is now the visitor center in Yosemite National Park He dedicated… he said that he had dedicated his art to “the great nature of California which” “over the long years in sad as well as delightful times has” “always given me great lessons comfort and nourishment.”And I would like to mention for if you’re interested in his art… There is, there was an exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and they still online, they have a lecture by ShiPu Wang who curated this exhibit and it is very good. And so you could have the opportunity opportunity to see that online And I’ll just end with one more quote by Obata. He said, “Always go with nature anywhere in any” “circumstance with gratitude.” Thank you Elizabeth Salmon: Thank you so much Kimi for that talk I’d like to turn it over now to Anita Anita Dey: Hello, my name is Anita Dey and as I call in from what is now called Laurel, Maryland, I’d like to acknowledge the ancestral homeland of the Susquehannocks I also acknowledge the presence of the Piscataway, and the Accohannock tribes and the Nanti- cokes, the Lumbees and the Cherokees. I’d also like to thank thank Peggy Mainor of the Multicultural Initiative for Community Advancement in identifying the Indigenous histories of where I call home. I’m one of the graduate assistants for the Untold Stories project this year and a rising third year graduate fellow at SUNY Buffalo State’s Garman art conservation program. I’m a brown woman of South Asian descent with long black hair and thick rimmed glasses. Today I’m sitting in my room, on my favorite reading chair surrounded by my nursery plants It’s my pleasure to introduce Alessandra La Rocca Link, a historian and educator based in Louisville, Texas, sorry, Louisville, Kentucky. I was drawn to her interest in researching the complicated intersections of culture, technology and the environment in the North American west through her article from the Washington Post titled “150 Years” “After the Transcontinental Railroad Indigenous Activists” “Continue to Battle Corporate Overreach,” which describes a long history of fighting government corporate alliances in what is now called Utah over the building of railroads through Indigenous lands Alessandra’s scholarship has been supported by several institutions including Southern Methodist University’s Clement Center for Southwest Studies, and the American Council of Learned Societies An active public historian, Alessandra is a project organizer for “Railroads in Native America” and a former contributor to “American Indian Histories in Rocky Mountain National Park.” In 2014, she co-founded Erstwhile, an online platform promoting engagement with the past, the present, and the historical profession. You can learn more about her work at www.alessandralink.com During her presentation, I will provide a link to her website in the chat box And now i am honored to welcome Alessandra Alessandra La Rocca Link: Thank you so much Anita, I really appreciate that introduction and thank you to everybody at Untold Stories for the invitation to be here today. I am honored to be presenting alongside Kimi and Jacqueline and have learned so much already, and thanks of course to all of you for tuning in. Looking forward to the conversation as best as we can have one on this platform I am reporting in from the homelands of the Cherokee, Shawnee, Miami and Osage nations that is now known as Louisville, Kentucky This place was and is also an important gathering place for many other Tribal Nations including the Haudenosaunee Peoples of the Six Nations I would also be remiss if I don’t acknowledge that I am reporting from a city that is grieving from the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee and I stand with many fellow Louisvillians in calling for justice for those murders

We were given a lot of latitude in terms of how as presenters we were going to engage with this theme of preserving cultural landscapes My plan is just to talk briefly about my research, a little bit of my public history work, and the ways I see it intersecting with this theme. Oh and for those of you who cannot see me I am a woman.. a Caucasian woman of Italian and Swiss descent I have long brown hair and I am sitting in my office and you may be able to see some of my children’s artwork in the background among some other favorite books Again, very happy to be here today So as Anita wonderfully mentioned, I am a historian of both the culture and environment in American West I consider myself a cultural historian of the environment, so I’m less interested in sort of more scientific approaches to how landscapes change over time So as a cultural historian of the environment I’ve long viewed landscapes as sites of cultural [information] but also as repositories of cultural knowledge. I have been inspired by the work of several Indigenous scholars and writers who view landscapes as wells of multiple stories And of course which stories rise to the surface, which stories are widely circulated as opposed to lesser known has a lot to do with power dynamics and the history of a particular place. I am not seeing my powerpoint but I’m wondering if we could pull that up. Does anyone see that? There we are, thank you, okay I see it now thanks, My research looks at railroad expansion in the North America and the West in the 19th early 20th centuries and particularly how Indigenous individuals and communities responded to this industrial interloper I mentioned before that landscapes are repositories of multiple stories and these images here depict the very dominant story put forth by Euro-American colonists in the 19th centuries as railroads and their corporate overlords were pushing onto Indigenous lands in the west And this dominant narrative, and I should stress here these are two visual depictions of this narrative of railroad expansion but the ideas and the concepts presented here circulated in other forms. There were board games. There’s a famous poem by Walt Whitman about railroad expansion that draws on some of the scenes i’m going to touch briefly on here. So this dominant narrative centers on depictions of natural and technological sublime Euro-American imagery in the 19th century tended to foreground the American West landscape and this industrial modernity they viewed that was cast in steel and running on steam: the train itself When Indigenous peoples were depicted in this imagery, if they were depicted at all, as you can see particularly in the Palmer image there’s this sense it’s a largely unpeopled space that the train is moving into They are represented anti-modern, as primitive, anti-technological, not a part of this new industrial, modern, railroaded future And you can see in the Palmer image the two indigenous warriors, their views obscured by the exhaust from the train, a very powerful statement about what Indigenous futures were supposed to look like in this situation And then in this very famous image that was circulated widely in the 19th century: the United States, John Gast “American Progress.” Native peoples are sort of receding off the edge of the image into sort of the darkened portion of the image as the lady in white, Lady Empire is bringing civilization and modernity

into the region and the train of course following closely behind. Slide please So for Euro-Americans and colonists at this time, the dominant narrative of railroad space in the West served two purposes First, it justified the conquest of the region as Indigenous inhabitants, and it supported efforts at regional reunion and national healing. And these are the images that you’re seeing here. So the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad took place in May of 1869 and two competing companies were given rights by the federal government to build this first transcontinental line and the tracks met in Promontory in what is now Utah, so hence the relevance for the conference in what is now Salt Lake City And so we have an image here, a very famous image depicting that union of tracks in May of 1869, so a few years after the close of the Civil War. And indeed a lot of this imagery about railroad expansion into this region was about promoting a sense of national healing: that the railroads literally and figuratively would bind the nation’s wounds from this war and integrate disparate regions together. The railways…sort of act as these important sutures But you can see even in a reproduction of this image, sort of a cartoon version of the image that circulated shortly after the union of tracks for this First Transcontinental Railroad, the addition of this imagery of the anti-modern Indian fleeing from the train. Next slide please And these images are just to draw your attention to the fact that this dominant narrative was a sticky one that lasts well into the 20th century and certainly have remnants up to the present moment. These are some images, advertising images put forth by railroad corporations in the early 20th century when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe [Railway] unveiled a high-speed passenger train called “The Chief” that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles I’ve spoken with many people over the years who recall riding “The Chief” or seeing “The Chief” but again playing on this narrative of anti-modern Indian of a sublime Western landscape with this technological marvel charging through it like one to be celebrated Next But I mentioned before, right, that this dominant cultural construction of the railroad west, of this railroad space, sought to promote healing and reunion after the Civil War but it also served to justify very real and very violent acts of dispossession and colonization Many railroads in the 19th century were land grant railroads The federal government handed over 131 million acres to railroad corporations in the 19th century. If we were to put all of that land together it would be the third largest state in the United States And of course that land was Indigenous land, much of it unceded with no treaties whatsoever dictating um that cession of land And railroads also carted Indigenous children to boarding schools, Indigenous freedom fighters like the individuals depicted here, to prison camps across North America, all the while hauling in soldiers, settlers, and supplies and disease onto Indigenous homelands And i included the image from a Mohawk Territory camp in February of this year (2020) to draw attention to the fact that these railroad spaces were and continue to be sites of state violence and i think Jacqueline did such a wonderful job of exploring that with us and presenting that to us today But again these railroad spaces are sites of corporate overreach

and state violence and part of my work in my book is this effort to really highlight also the role of corporations in colonization and dispossession, because often historians tend to think of colonization as sort of an act perpetrated by the state and federal governments and forget this important role that corporations played And i think you know in our present moment and in recent years in particular, Indigenous activists have done all that work of bringing a lot of attention to this role of corporations and colonization and attacks on Tribal sovereignty Next But I also I want to end by stressing that this dominant narrative, right, that that some of my work looks to unpack also misses the ways in which railroaded spaces are sites of cultural and spiritual revitalization movements among Native Nations and how Native Peoples used railroads as tools to support Indigenous activism. So in my book I talk in particular about the rise of two inter-Tribal movements at the turn of the 20th century: the Society of American Indians and then an inter-tribal spiritual movement known as the Peyote Religion, and I also talk about the ways in which Indigenous political delegations often traveled by rail, some authorized by the federal government, many not, seeking an audience with the President to air their grievances and seek redress So you see an image here of a Lakota delegation to Washington Activists like Sarah Winnemucca often traveled on rail networks to raise awareness about issues affecting her tribe and to raise funds And then this arresting photo at the bottom of Mountain Wolf Woman a Ho-chunk member of the Peyote Religion [who] has a beautiful account of Ho-chunk Peyotists, followers of this Inter-Tribal religion taking a train to visit kin in what is now Wisconsin and creating a circle in the boxcar and singing their Peyote songs and then beating their drums and really claiming that boxcar as Indigenous space So, next And i just want to touch on some other depictions from Indigenous peoples of this narrative of railroad expansion This is a pot by a contemporary potter from Santa Clara Pueblo called “From Horse to Train” which really plays on this understanding that the train was this sort of new technology that many indigenous communities harnessed in efforts to preserve their kin and communities And then above is a petroglyph at a site in the Green River Valley in Wyoming. In fact, I was planning to meet with some Eastern Shoshone Elders at this site following our previously planned meeting at Salt Lake City but alas I put it here just to suggest that there are a lot of other ways to understand and read this railroad story that we need to pay attention to Next So in recent years I’ve moved into more public history type work and I still hold this interest in really complicating and disrupting sort of mainline narratives about particular places. And I do that by working in partnership with all sorts of folks. I don’t have an image of this but in 2016 and 2017 I partnered with the Northern Arapaho Nation, the Cheyenne Arapaho Nation and scholars at the University of Colorado where I was a graduate student, and representatives from Rocky Mountain National Park on a workshop aimed at addressing interpretive issues at the park Rocky Mountain National Park and several other national parks tend to narrate their space…view them as sort of green spaces. They focus

on the environment the non-human environment and this sort of again, the sort of natural sublime, environmental sublime and as a result they erase human histories. And so the folks at Rocky Mountain National Park were looking to address that and in partnership with Native Nations We had a wide-ranging conversation about how they could address those issues and in turn how the Park Service could support these communities And then this is an image of the organizing committee for “Railroads in Native America.” As I mentioned in a previous slide the union of tracks for the First Transcontinental Railroad was in May of 1869 which means that in May of 2019 it was the 150th anniversary of this union of tracks There is a national monument in Utah called the Golden Spike Monument that held arguably a more celebratory event to honor and commemorate this moment, and we organized what we jokingly called a counter-commemoration that really addressed sort of the impact of railroad expansion on Indigenous communities And once again it was a workshop held in partnership with representatives from the National Park Service, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the Union Pacific Corporation, particularly their Council on Native American Heritage and several Indigenous scholars and artists. Actually here’s… in the center of this picture is the work of Paul High Horse called “Open Heart Open Minds.” And also we watched film from an Indigenous documentary on Diné or Navajo railroad workers and again engaged in a conversation about how to adequately address the legacy of railroads and and the hope is that not only has some of this work resulted in changes in interpretation at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum but Union Pacific has since become aware of ongoing contemporary issues between and [Native communities] and the Union Pacific that they’re working to address and then there’s also talks of the Transcontinental Line route being designated a National Trail, in which case the hope is that the partnerships that have been built at this event will carry into important sort of interpretive and conservation work along the route. So I will leave it at that and we can open it up to some questions, maybe? Anita Dey: Hi, so we’re gonna just ask everyone to all the panelists to turn their videos back on and we’ll move into the question and answer and the conversation part of our session. To everyone who’s watching, you can send in your question through the Q and A feature at the bottom toolbar and we’ll try to our best to answer as many questions on this call We do plan to end around 5:30, so we’ll try to do the best we can Elizabeth Salmon:So i’ll start off with a question. So you each alluded to the role of documentation as a tool of communities to draw attention to the injustices that they’re experiencing. Can you speak to the importance of creating documentation either through art or other channels to tell personal stories or expose difficult experiences? Kimi Kodani Hill:I ‘m just going to the personal stories [are] very very important to draw out of families, and historically the Japanese-American community was very reticent to share what was a very shameful part, you know, of their life. To have been considered untrustworthy, you know, during World War II And it took decades for families to be comfortable enough to actually start to share and I just say that as as I think, is it Henry Louis Gates said, you know, it is a natural

impulse for families to suppress the, you know, terrible experiences in their lives So you know, to draw out something so painful is difficult but important. And sometimes for some families it’s sometimes just an object It’s sometimes a photograph and it is a way for people to share, you know, not only the joys and and the strength of a family but the terrible things that happened Jacqueline Keeler:Yeah, I guess, you know, I’m a journalist and I spend a lot of time I probably recorded over the years of my work thousands of hours of interviews with Native people and you know I use a lot of my own family stories in my writing I’m really lucky that I come from a family of writers. My grandmother’s aunt was Ella Deloria and so her cousin was Vine Deloria Jr and so my family have books that they published going back 100 years now And I get to see in each book like sort of where they were at at that moment, what they were dealing with politically Like my Aunt Ella’s book published during the time of the Indian Reorganization Act A lot of it deals with that history, how that was impacting the communities, the challenges of going from a traditional, you know Dakota or Lakota society based on kinship relationships to a commercial one All of these challenges, you know, she writes about her book, and then of course her nephew’s book “Custer Died For Your Sins” in 1969, I want to say dealt with a lot of things that happened, were happening in the 60s. He had been the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and then of course my my mother’s family and my grandmother’s aunt wrote a book My grandmother didn’t speak English but her aunt was about the same age as her, she was from a later marriage And she didn’t speak English and she wrote a book documenting my grandmother’s grandfather’s stories He was a young man. At 16, his parents were murdered by the Army He, you know, and… his mother my my like several great grandmothers, she was a silversmith and she died on her forge The US Army came and killed her there while she was making a as a horse bridle. You know and it’s just like the book has so much all the places where we live you know from Mount Taylor to him, you know… The fact that his father was a was a Navajo man who was also a trader, so he traveled with a wagon trading tin pots and things to all the Navajo communities. I mean you don’t think of Navajos doing those things but when you have the actual stories you begin to understand You get a much larger picture than white society allows us to have, right, about our own experiences. And so my ancestor, he knew, his name was Big Horse He knew where all the different watering holes were because he traveled with his father who had visited all these Navajo communities So he was invaluable to the Resistance He ended up joining and fighting uh with the Resistance against the US Army He didn’t go to uh on The Long Walk to be held in captivity And he was part of that group and he there’s some vivid images of him and another sick teenage boy holding their hands together. They had a whole bunch of teenage boys holding their hands, they’re holding like it was like something out of Akira Kurosawa, you know. We farm in the Canyon de Chelly and the Army was coming and they were going to kill everybody. And so the boys were trying to get the people up into the caves to hide. And as people some people refused because they were getting ready to harvest their crops And they and all the other people were standing up there watching the people being murdered by the US Army and people were starting trying to throw themselves to commit suicide and so these boys held their hands together to prevent the people from doing that. And then one of them, one of his best friends ended up getting pushed down and then died in that. And so it’s just these stories that we have. It tells us how so much about our history that America won’t tell us, right, and so yeah it’s up, so my writing is a continuation of that from my perspective here at the beginning of the 21st century And it’s for my children. It’s for my nieces and nephews It’s for the next generation to find a pathway home, right, and so yeah it’s really valuable to me And everything that I learned in oral stories, you know, that haven’t been written down yet, I try to make, incorporate, that into my work and I’m really lucky to come from two families that have such amazing family memories. And

and then my husband is Mohawk and Seneca from Six Nations and his family are equally as involved and have this a tremendous history he’s a direct decided of Chief Joseph Brant. His grandfather was the Bear Clan Chief there at Six Nations The Mohawk Chief, represented the People at the UN, so there’s just, you know, we we have so many things we’ve done and it’s such a part of of what we do and how we relate to all of these different issues. It’s more than just an artifact Alessandra La Rocca Link: Yeah I would chime in and just add that especially as a non-native scholar, there are sources that i am I’m not privy to and I should not be privy to and and the public should not be privy to, that are kept within communities and are sacred information. And I think a lot about how hard it is to work against the abundance of documentation that corporate entities circulate and put out You know I spent time in and railroad corporation archives that are massive, I mean just volumes of paper and there’s a way in which this sort of the volume itself scares people away from sort of the deep digging, right, and in some respects it feels almost purposeful, right? And then also in terms of the way in which these corporations were also architects of these narratives of sort of celebrating railroad expansion and promoting this imagery of the anti-modern Indian: we still see that in the Western landscape A lot of that tourist imagery and just, you know, i mentioned briefly board games, pins, coins, if you’re talking about stuff that’s in circulation that’s putting forth particular ideas. Oftentimes, it can seem like hard work to push against just the onslaught of what’s been documented and the inaccuracies of some of that material Sanchita Balachandran: Can i just ask, since you know a lot of the people who are on this webinar are people who often deal with the kind of very fragmentary remnants of these histories without a real contextual understanding, a cultural understanding of what these types of archival materials or physical objects tell us You know, I think there’s a growing recognition at last among, you know, people in our field and in the museum world in general that we have been complicit in these, you know, these colonial stories for a very long time and it’s really time to kind of rethink the the conservation and the museum paradigm entirely But sort of thinking about what that might look like, you know, given your different experiences and sifting these archives and these stories: What are the kinds of advice, what are the kinds of things that you would suggest we start to really take seriously as kind of regular practices rather than, you know, oh suddenly we need to accommodate group ‘x,’ right, which I think is unfortunately the way that a lot of museums have treated the collections that they are now de facto stewards of. So given your experiences, what are the things you would say we need to really start taking seriously as museum and cultural heritage professionals? Alessandra La Rocca Link: Well I’ll reference the “Railroads in Native America” was in part partnership with the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, who fell under, an institution that fell under new leadership and realized that they had a lot of artifacts that had no tribal identifications there was no history of how they had acquired those And what little information they had appeared to be inaccurate. And part of the work that this organizing committee was involved in was putting this material before Tribal Elders and asking about it and asking first if they ought to have it and second, if they felt that it should stay within the museum, then how to narrate it. And they were compensated for all of their work in that respect. And I think it was critical for these institutions

to engage these communities in a spirit of reciprocity I have been privy to a lot of conversations that tend to boil down to, “Could you help me with this?” instead of “How can I, how can I help you? These are my skills.” For example, I was at Northern Arapaho Nation and they talked about for the Rocky Mountain Project and they stressed that for them to help the Park Service they expected that they would get support for their Tribal Historic Preservation Office because they had plans to acquire a library and identify source materials so that their own community members can have access to a lot of important documentation and source materials that’s housed elsewhere. So I would really stress that spirit of reciprocity and these kinds of engagements Kimi Kodani Hill:I just want to add just in general just for although we’re not able to go to museums now but to express, you know, your interest Just for the general public that you know, that we’re interested, that people are interested in these stories and and… For instance, the National Park Service has Manzanar, one of the 10 concentration camps that were scattered around the United States, there’s several that now have museums including Topaz of course, Heart mountain in Wyoming, and of course in these isolated areas. But when the public encounters these exhibitions, you know, that showing the time when America failed its citizens and a way to learn about civil rights is to see where it failed and the strength of that. There’s so much, you know, there’s so much that the public can support, that a really truly strong country is going to show where it where it failed and therefore learn from these mistakes And i’m always encouraging you know people to to just not don’t think of the National Parks for instance, these museums, as places just for, you know, the scenic beauty but also the history and the hard histories the the hard truths Jacqueline Keeler: I guess I would say that to consider the role of white supremacy in all these institutions. I think that what we’re looking at with the defund the police movement is that they were questioning these structures that we’ve inherited, right? These structures that came with colonization, right? Structures that really center white perspectives, whiteness, you know And often when I’m reporting on these issues and I talk to Native academics and scholars and historians, they often will tell me, “Like you know my department or you know my institution, they’re hiring a ‘pretend-ian,'” i mean someone’s totally a fake Indian, right, to head it up And that really that is quite.. you know, the ability for white people to or people, you know to be transracial is very much dependent on colonization and genocide, right, so they can they can fill those spaces, right? And it’s let’s say an expression of white supremacy, right, so I think that often these institutions get caught up in sort of systems of doing things and in ways of interacting that are that are deeply tied to a very troubling past, right, and and i know that, you know my actually, my father’s cousin, Maria Pearson, who led the fight to get NAGPRA passed, the Native American rights Graves and Repatriation Act, she started in Iowa and her husband was an engineer on the roads. And he, as they were building the highways there they were digging up Native graves and so she got very involved with that And so she was a Inhanktonwan woman Inhanktonwan and so but I think that you know these these sorts of laws are helpful in sort of changing the way these institutions work. But there is a nature in which these systems were built for a certain purpose and it’s very hard to repurpose them It’s really difficult to do and so I think what we’re having at this moment in this country is that we are trying to we’re really taking this time to question these things I mean you know I helped start #NotYour Mascot in 2014 and you know I’m very late to that whole

movement I have to say I mean there are people doing much more work before me But the, you know, the only reason we were able to achieve any change or success on that issue was because Black Lives Matter had moved, had changed the playing field, had made these things suddenly completely unacceptable, right? And we live in a world surrounded by these sorts of symbols, of the colonization and the occupation of these lands, whether it’s the Columbia River or whether it’s Columbus statues, right. These these symbols coming down is very important but then we also need to look at the actual structures that they actually represent And so I look at institutions. And I went and these are institutions that were made for a purpose, right? I mean museums have a colonial aspect to them you know, and so it really needs to maybe be really re-thought Maybe, I don’t know how, it’s quite difficult, I mean You know I think, I’m really glad that Tribal Colleges exist as a way for us to be able to…and Tribal Museums for us to do these systems in ways that are meaningful to us, right, without having to negotiate that with white leaders, right? And we wonder like when you look at that most white people voted for Trump, right, in every demographic, then you have to wonder like, how pushing change is obviously really hard because of that And that the white paradigm that people live in of white supremacy, the house they live in, it really makes it very difficult. And so I would, you know, institutions themselves are problematic institutions that are the product of colonization Sanchita Balachandran: Can i just ask a follow-up to that then? If you could imagine a future that felt like a reciprocal, you know, supportive fully acknowledging kind of world, what would that look like for you? What would that feel like, if you could just imagine what that might look like? Jacqueline Keeler: Well, I’d have to say that that when we are so with my lecture i give about how the US is still a colony, right, I turn to the audience I say, you know, you are good people, you’re moral people, that’s how you regard yourself and yet you’re a colonist which is deeply problematic…But so what would ethical colonialism look like, you know? And people often think that I’m asking sort of a, you know, not serious question, right? But…what I try to do with my work is I try to change the parameters [with which] we understand our world, switch it up. And that’s what my having traditional Navajo grandparents did for me Seeing them react to the world in ways that were completely… would just open my mind, do you know what I mean? And this is the great this is part of the wealth of this continent, right, this hemisphere, are all these different perceptions, ways people do things And of course if you look at the history of the United States, the American colonists, the English colonists were deeply influenced by Native culture whether you’re talking about democracy or women’s rights these are all an outgrowth of that cross-cultural pollination that occurred, which is why the name of our magazine is Pollen Nation And so pollen being something sacred that we pray with And so I think that we still have those things and in my book “Bears Ears” I have a chapter about you know, what is the value in the land? Because often, talking to white folks they’re on the ground they’re like, “jobs jobs jobs,” you know, “money money money,” you know, that’s the value but there’s another value there and that value of creative ideas, social structure that grows out of the peoplehood of them being from people of that land, that relationship, right, that has value. Because you think what has women’s rights meant? My husband’s people, you know at Seneca Falls they inspired those women to to launch the Women’s Rights Movement Seneca women were examples to people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and all those folks you know, and of course, you know, democracy, you know it was the leader of the Iroquois Confederacy who spoke to the Founding Fathers about that. And so these concepts they have made people’s lives better, right, probably billions of peoples of lives better, right, what’s the financial value of that, you know? And so my thing is, I think that with this post-pandemic society, we need to come together and we need to think about if we’re going to create a pandemic proof society what is it going to look like and that Native people need to be at that table And we need to be at the table not simply as you know, a pity party, but you know because we have real ideas and these treaties are these legal moments where we can come to the table and say this is our perception of this legal, you know, this agreement Not just English Common Law but this is our perception, right, this is what we bring to the table And so I think that it does come to that,

reorienting, rewriting this relationship because right now, museums and things like that are a product of a very painful history, right, of colonization and taking, and so I think that we need… to the future would be a society in which we have a different political relationship with each other It’s not states with, you know what I mean Tribes are sovereign nations, they’re politically higher than states but if you look at a map, you know, a reservation is drawn as sort of a park within the state, but the state has no jurisdiction, right? So it’s i think that we need to really come together, redraw these boundaries, remake these relationships, right, because if you’re not, if you’re not part of an Indigenous nation, you are a colonist You know, I would say that of course a lot of you know I would say that Black Americans have a different relationship than that fundamentally, you know, and so but yeah I think that that’ but that’s that’s the…I think that we need to redraw the relationships and that the institutions that come out of that new relationship, then those will be institutions that have a DNA and an algorithm, right, that will produce different outcomes Alessandra La Rocca Link: Yeah, I would second Jacqueline on the needs for coalition building, and actually Native activists have been modeling that for a really long time with a lot of their Intertribal work, you know, working together across, you know, national lines themselves to generate change And I think, you know, part of my work with Rocky Mountain and the Railroads in Native America project is understanding my position not as an expert by any means but as a facilitator and trying to to help put people into conversation who maybe historically hadn’t been in conversation I think my experiences with some of those for example, you know, representatives from a railroad corporation that has perpetrated all sorts of crimes against Native peoples, you know speaking to an audience of Tribal members and whatnot, is there’s a lot of healing and that needs to take place and a direct confrontation with the past before I think you can move into this constructive future-oriented work. And especially on the…you know white people in particular need to be addressing these histories, reading them, learning and educating themselves before. You know, I think a deep engagement with the past is also part of how we’re going to then be able to move forward Anita Dey: I’m going to pull a question that was answered through the Q and A box “Have there been any repercussions that the general public” “has not noticed with the great reduction to Bears Ears” “such as reduced funding for health care and for schools?” Jacqueline Keeler: Yeah I do go into that in some detail in my latest article in Sierra Magazine I think that, you know, one of the reasons we bring up the legal aspect of it is because it is a really powerful tool. As difficult as white structures are to interact with but I think at Bears Ears there were some funding issues of course Trump tried to put a little poison pill in. They actually had a committee that had tribal representatives on it that would co-manage the National Monument and he tried to change it up in his in his executive order to add in people he thought would be more on his side which would be County Commissioners, right? But then it turned out that and I I interviewed…it’s all in my article it’s like, it’s like a 5000 word article article, so but basically as the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission sued under the Voting Rights Act San Juan County which actually had gerrymandered all of the Navajo voters into a single district. So most counties in Utah have three County Commissioners in three districts but the Navajo population was more just slightly more than 50 percent of the population And so they won their case and then this last election

in 2018 was the first time where they were able to have an election with full representation and so two of the County Commissioners became Navajo and they were not supporting the Monument And so Trump’s little poison pill sort of didn’t work But yeah, it’s they’ve been able just to get so much done with being the majority, a two out of three County Commissioners and really begin to direct funding to the Navajo communities, which if you go to the community of, the county of San Juan you will see that there’s a big difference with infrastructure between the north and the south where the white communities are and where the Navajo communities are So they’ve been able to really address that with funding for roads, getting a lot of these issues like who who… all kinds of things. So it’s been a good deal that way, that’s been an ongoing thing and and they really organized to turn out the vote You know they got about 2000 more Navajos registered to vote This is out of a county with about I’d say, about 15,000 people, not all of which are adults, and so yeah, they’re doing really great work. I was just back there in January and i mean Navajos, I really feel like Navajos have a real “can do” attitude, you know. They’re really organized they really go and do things They just and it’s really and they’re very large tribe I mean, you know, there’s 360,000 or 370,000 enrolled members, citizens, which you have to realize is about the population of Iceland, and the land area is the exact same, or it’s a little larger than the Republic of Ireland, right, and so this is a nation. and uh and they say about a third of Navajo citizens are fluent speakers, so you’re talking about 120,000, which is probably more people [than] have ever spoken Navajo than in the history of the world, right, and so it’s, you know, sort of bugged me about a lot of reporting about the COVID-19 infections which were serious and that and were treated seriously by the communities But you know, we’re not disappearing. There’s always this desire to write us off like, oh they’re dying off, they’re going away but you can’t really say that about the Navajo Nation Yeah so i think I answered your question but you can redirect me if you want Sanchita Balachandran :I think we have one more question for all of you and then we’ll wrap it up. So I think either Elizabeth or Anita are going to ask the question Anita Dey: Sure So there’s a new surge or there’s a bigger surge of energy around the perspective of the history curriculum and how it’s taught in school, mainly because it’s coming from the perspective of white colonizers. So in your opinion, how can institutions incorporate a more mindful teaching approach to carry on these stories to a new generation? Kimi Kodani Hill: Well I’m just going to say that it’s it’s a pretty exciting time I think for educators. It’s like history is is happening as we speak and to use um examples, you know, from history Democracy just keeps you know moving forward, you know. It seems incremental but it can happen, and there are, and it is worth it to look to history. And it’s very exciting to think about this HR-40, that is, reparations for Black Americans, and they’re looking at the original redress and reparations that happened for Japanese Americans who were in the camps. And it was a process, it was a huge process, but there was enough literature out there of how it happened Even within the community, you know, the conflicts, but it did eventually happen. And it is part of the democratic history of the United States that they can, the government can admit a mistake and right or wrong and pay a lot of money for it. And so that is is you know these historical things that that need to be brought up in, you know, current history classes for youth. So to give them the incentive that they have the power to change, make changes Alessandra La Rocca Link: i guess as the historian of the bunch, I’d say, you know there’s been a movement in higher ed[ucation] in recent years to decolonize your syllabus and that should be happening at the curriculum level as well. There have been scholars who have been, you know, Black

brown and Indigenous scholars who have been writing these histories for a long time, and a good first step is to foreground their work and bring that and center that in the development of coursework I think that’s that’s very critical to to seeing some change there Jacqueline: I have to answer it? Okay, so you know, I’m a parent, I have children and I think that… it’s weird, I do feel like there was more work being done when I was a kid than there are there is now that I’ve seen in my children’s curriculum, honestly. But yeah, I think it’s really important to…well, once again we always come up against structural problems. I think a lot of our problems are structural problems. So you know, we really have to to take a very good look at that That’s…very hard to fight structure, you know. I think, you know, I do think it does take actually, it’s it’s going I mean, you know, here in Portland, you know, I was listening to one of the young Black Lives Matter leaders since she was she’s very young, she was speaking and she was saying that basically that we if this is such a serious problem, we can’t wait to educate white people, but this…just can’t wait. It would take too long, too much energy to… They would just soak it all up, you know, trying to and then they’d still be in charge And so it’s like we actually need, maybe, you know, maybe white people need to sit down, I mean and just let other people do the work, I mean, because it’s just a lot of it’s like I said, white supremacy. I don’t mean to keep railing on this but you know it is a real force…which we have to deal with if I go into my kid’s school and I try to change something, it’s there and it’s telling me, “no,” do you know what I mean? If, you know, even on the reservation, all these places, it’s always there saying, “no,” right? Making it hard. And so it does require we’re actually looking at these changes, right, and it’s a dangerous conversation to have. I mean, you know, I was just on the phone this morning because they were afraid a young Native woman had been taken by one of Trump’s unnamed law enforcement folks, taken off the streets, you know But it i think it’s an important one [conversation] to have and and Ii don’t know, I mean we can have these little incremental fights, little incremental changes but you know, it’s interesting going back to my grandma’s cousin Vine Deloria Jr, his book, “Custer Died For Your Sins” there’s a chapter in there called “The Red and Black,” and I reread that after Ferguson, and he talks about how that fundamentally Native American leaders in the 60s did not agree with the fight for Civil Rights because their fight wasn’t about civil rights, their fight was about sovereignty rights and they fundamentally felt that that white people would never allow Black people to be equal members of society, right, and that this fight there were issues with it, do you know what I mean and they they felt totally like only like Stokely Carmichael was right, like basically they agreed with Black nationalism because they felt that that this was the only way they could have a safe space to protect themselves, to to relearn their ways and stuff. So I I don’t know, I mean these small changes I think they’re interesting. I think that they can help but they’re incredibly slow And I don’t know if they’re really working. I mean the fact that my children have seemed…it seems to have gone backwards, you know. And so it’s from when I was a kid there was a lot more work being going on trying to change the curriculum I feel than what I see happening now, or at least with my children’s schooling Sanchita Balachandran: Well, I think on that note, I would say we’ve come across, sort of, the end of our time for now, but we have a lot of really good things to read Here’s Kimi’s wonderful book about her grandfather’s work, and here again is “Edge of Morning” and we’ve linked to Alessandra’s website and we look forward to hearing about your forthcoming book as well and also yours, Jacqueline And there’s a really spectacular exhibition catalog from the Obata show that was in DC So we have a lot of work to do, but I just want to say this has been really an incredible conversation. Thank you all for dealing with all the technical issues and still carrying on And thank you so much to our interpreters and our captioner for making this more accessible. As we close, when you close this. you should get access to a survey,

and in fact it should be appearing in your chat right now If you have a chance we would be really grateful if you would take this brief survey because we’d really like to think about how to continue this kind of programming and it really helps with speaking to potential funders about how we might continue these conversations And a recording of today’s event which I hope I’ve done correctly will hopefully go up on our website in the next few days if you’d like to revisit this conversation or share it And I’d really like to end by thanking everyone who’s on the screen and so many people, sort of behind the scenes who’ve been incredibly supportive And I really hope that one day we can meet in person, in greater health for everyone and really with a sense of purpose, because we obviously have a lot of work to do. But thank you so much, stay safe, stay healthy and we hope this conversation continues after this Thanks again, thank you, thanks