Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian by Denise K. Cummings

By Denise K. Cummings

In fresh years, works by means of American Indian artists and filmmakers resembling Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Edgar Heap of Birds, Sherman Alexie, Shelley Niro, and Chris Eyre have illustrated the significance of visible tradition as a method to mediate identification in modern local the US. This insightful choice of essays explores how id is created and communicated via local film-, video-, and art-making; what function those practices play in modern cultural revitalization; and the way indigenous creators revisit media pasts and resignify dominant discourses via their paintings. Taking an interdisciplinary strategy, Visualities: views on modern American Indian movie and paintings draws on American Indian reviews, American stories, movie stories, Cultural experiences, Women’s experiences, and Postcolonial reviews. one of the artists tested are Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, Eric Gansworth, Melanie Printup desire, Jolene Rickard, and George Longfish. movies analyzed comprise Imprint, It begins with a Whisper, Mohawk women, Skins, The enterprise of Fancydancing, and a range of local Latin films.

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It is a site where indigenous knowledges and practices are displayed in sharp relief against competing colonial discourses. By doing so, it | 6 Michelle H. Raheja opens up multiple narratives for dialogue within and outside the community on a site that is less invested in the traffic in authenticity than in reconsidering the relationship between the visual image and larger cultural and political contexts. Indigenous people at the same time recuperate, regenerate, and begin to heal on the virtual reservation directly under the gaze of the national spectator.

I suggest a reading of contemporary Native American cinematic practices through the lens of a particular indigenous epistemic knowledge—prophecy—on the virtual reservation. Discursive prophecy is intertwined with the broader notion that twentieth-century mass-mediated images of Native Americans, as inaccurate and offensive as they sometimes are, create the possibility of a virtual reservation where indigenous people can creatively reterritorialize physical and imagined sites that have been lost, that are in the process of renegotiation, or have been retained.

36 In one of the many versions of this story, a woman from the Sky World falls through a hole created by an uprooted tree, and on her way into the abyss grabs corn, beans, and squash seed (known as the “Three Sisters”). As she tumbles through seemingly endless darkness, Canada geese take pity on her and carry her until they become tired and call on a giant, primordial turtle below to assist them. She lands safely on his or her shell, and with the assistance of other animals creates the world on the turtle’s back.

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