I am very thankful for who I am, and the god given talent I possess. I know that there are some people that will go through life never knowing of this way of life. I feel sorry for those that walk aimlessly. I can only pray for those that want something better will find it!
I just left a comment on a fellow artists blog, and was inspired to write this, since it had to do with so called "trading post trash art" I know there is a place, maybe China, that has cheap child labor where they are tieing together dream catchers, printing out thousands of prints of a Indian on a horse, or a Eagle by a nest. Or maybe they are carving a small statue of Geronimo. All of this with a price tag of el cheapo!
Lot's of thoughts go through my mind about this cheap form of so called NAART. Which in it's own form is a lie! And against the law! Since we have our own copyright laws that govern who gets to do what, when it comes to NAART.
One teaching my Father left me was if you can't say something good then don't say anything. Or sometimes it may not be your place to say something. When it comes to this though, I must speak up. I want to add that I do not want to talk down to any mans culture anywhere in this world, including the Chinese. I know that their culture had preserved items and artifacts that their ancestors had performed at one time or another, and I respect that! I would never try to imitate it or try to down grade their society. Our people are a tiny minority in this world today, and what we do have everyone wants! We had flintstone pipes, and we kept very sacred. They possessed power for healing, and for prayer. We knew they helped sustain life. The keepers lived much longer than that of the average man. Those things were very sacred and respected to our people. Never used for decorations! Only used as instruments of the creator. I think you are getting my point here. I am only wanting to convey that we as a people are not into disrespecting another mans culture.
As a true Native American artist, I guess you can say it is a form of flattery, that someone must imitate you, since they have no idea of how we come up with our beliefs, traditions. They only want something we can't give to them. It is not ours to give, since it came from the creator. Something all Native Americans are born with. All of my relatives are like a walking song dictionary, can sing 500 songs at any given moment, or can paint something from pure emotion that came from a vision. You can't give that away, or teach it. You have to be born with it.
I really didn't want to get into the political side of things, but I feel I must say something along these lines, since it does effect the pure fabric of our Native American way of life. The previous administration went out around the world and went for that free trade agreement. Here we are now, allowing this to come into our country, because someone thought it was a better idea to let a different Man do our work for us. Any Native American that can't see this must be blind.
We went to a powwow last fall, and walked to the arts and crafts booths to see what was out there. We were able to get a local artist to sign the back of a t-shirt with his logo on it, which was cool, since he was one of my relatives. Then we went to the other booths saw some fine silver and turquoise jewelery. Then we saw booths with nothing but cheap trash for sale. .99 cent bamboo flutes with chicken feathers on it. Stuff more aimed at children, but all of it is cheap.
I am only hoping that the present administration will do something to help improve this so called trade agreement, and stop some of this stuff from even coming into our country. The other thing that we can do here, is the powwow committees that allow these booths come into their powwows, need to screen the vendors. I know the almighty dollar speaks volumes, especially in this economic disaster we are currently living in. It just needs to start somewhere, and I know the present administration is doing everything it can to help improve the situation it was given by the last administration.
I only hope that one day soon the Native American will once again get what is his back! Since it was not his to be given away in the first place!!
When you look at things this way, then it does make things much easier to do art about your heritage, and traditions. I do believe that we must continue with our art, along with our beliefs. When we do this then no man can imitate that. Then when someone does purchase a print with a certificate of authenticity, signed by the artist and numbered, they will know in their hearts that what they possess is the real deal! Not something made in a 3rd world country at the hands of child labor. Just a Sunday afternoon rant.. Thanks for reading! As always comments are welcome!