In The Gallery: 'Re-Riding History'

  • Monday, Jan 23, 2017

Madison, Wis. (January 23, 2017) – Re-Riding History: From the Southern Plains to the Matanzas Bay opens Thursday, January 26, at the Edgewood College Gallery.

The exhibition runs Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, February 26, 2017. An opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:30 pm, Thursday, January 26, 2017 at the Edgewood College Gallery, located in The Stream.

On Friday, February 17, 2017, a symposium presenting social justice through contemporary Native American perspectives will be held from 2:00 pm -4:00 pm, in the Gallery. A reception will follow, attended by a number of the artists in the exhibition.

In Re-Riding History, Artists Emily Arthur, (Asst. Professor UW-Madison) Marwin Begaye (Professor, University of Oklahoma) and John Hitchcock (Professor, UW-Madison) present a curatorial project, which metaphorically retraces the history of seventy-two American Indian peoples who were forcibly taken from their homes in Salt Fork, OK, and transported by train to St. Augustine, Florida. The United States war department imprisoned Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, and Caddo leaders under Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt from 1875-1878. Ten years later five hundred and thirty Chiricahua Apache men, women, and children were imprisoned in Fort Marion, Florida, which initiated twenty-seven years of prisoner of war status.

It was at Fort Marion (renamed Castillo de San Marcos in 1942) that Lieutenant Pratt developed the assimilation methods of control that defined a century of government policy. The imprisonment method was institutionalized in the federal off-reservation boarding school policy that was in place in the United States until the 1930s. The most central boarding school example was authored at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania where Lieutenant Pratt coined the phrase “Kill the Indian, save the man.”

The curators asked seventy-two artists to create an individual work on paper in the same dimensions as the historic ledger drawings made at Fort Marion from 1875-1878. The exhibition is a contemporary response to a historical experience held intact within American Indian communities through oral history and art. The artists selected include Native American, non-Native and descendants from both periods of imprisonment.

Engaging these historical events, the artists reclaim the telling of this story to offer an indigenous perspective of our shared history.