“Paul” is the grandson of Juanita ”Holy-named Woman” Left-Hand. Juanita, a Native American woman was one of the last speakers of the dialect spoken by her tribe, the Assiniboine. Born around 1896, she witnessed the long battle to maintain traditional Indian life on the reservation as it was fought and lost. Juanita was overjoyed when historians came to ask her help in transcribing the dialect and the traditional Indian stories and their accompanying hand gestures. Those transcriptions, as well as her traditional beadwork designs and dolls now reside in the Smithsonian Institution Archive.
The text is the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which mandated all Indian Nations in the southern states to be relocated west of the Mississippi. This document was one of the opening salvos to the systematic dismantling of native cultures and that relocation resulted in what is known as the “Trail of Tears” which decimated the populations of the southern Indian Nations.
“Paul” 60″x 37″ Ink on panel