“Manhattan Given Back To Indians…” & Benny Andrews’ Bicentennial Blues & Frohawk Two Feathers’ Frenglish New York
Given that I was out all day yesterday — primarily attending an uptown art salon in Lower Harlem, where I sang — I completely missed this odd bit of NYC local news: MANHATTAN GIVEN BACK TO INDIANS (well at least a part of it)
Although I have some close ties with the Ramapough Lunaape and am acquainted with Chief Dwaine Perry, I have not to my knowledge crossed paths with the New York Post article’s cited chief Anthony Jay Van Dunk nor have I met the cited son of artist Louise Bourgeois — I have been a fleeting fan of hers due to her longevity/continuing to create but expertise on her life & oeuvre lies with my twin sister, the art historian — Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois. I don’t know quite what to make of this transaction, but if the ultimate result is a patahmaniikan (prayer house) then fine. I did not get to participate in the Ramapough winter ceremony this past Saturday out @ Split Rock, for it was cancelled due to snow/inclement weather; so I have not heard any direct commentary from the Source, as it were.
The article says Bourgeois fils has been a Standing Rock benefactor, yet I was more interested to learn of other Natives’ participation in the Occupy Movement for in all the months I was involved in it, particularly Occupy Music, I never met any. Now, if only this M. Bourgeois would get behind the fight to establish Indigenous Peoples Day in NYC. Overall, it was just a little odd piece of news to be sent to me by other Urban Native friends, at the end of the year when Standing Rock has become such a Hollywood trendy Cause (Elvis’ grand baby appearing at hyped LA benefits) & indigenous chic itself has been atomizing err’where — especially on the backs of musical artists with no Native roots including hip-hop ones & judges of The Voice like Alicia Keys — but I am still encountering folks who never heard of what’s going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline (or any other of this land’s black snakes). It’s weird to be revisiting the apocryphal sale of Manhattan by the Lenape to the Dutch, even as our Tri-State news is dominated by news of president-elect Trump’s vast real estate holdings here, the need to barricade Trump Tower in Midtown, and the ongoing discussion of the City as Trump’s fiefdom. I hope the Ramapough do not get targeted by limousine liberals, due to their local residence. Meantime, instead of hashtagging activism, focus & funds need to be directed to the many Native protectors of Standing Rock who are now facing felonies / about to have their cases trafficked through the courts in North Dakota — and there’s inadequate legal representation for most. Some of us staying woke despite the narcotic of holiday cheer.
(Chief Van Dunk, Ramapough, & art patron/architectural historian Bourgeois via New York Post)
Anyroad, I believe this story jumped out at me due to a long conversation about Native American roots out of the Mid-Atlantic and “outsider art” creation we had on Friday afternoon in Chelsea, on the verge of a gallery crawl through the ‘hood to see Titus Kaphar’s opening @ Jack Shainman & the great Bicentennial Series show of one of my favorite painters/fellow Georgian Benny Andrews @ Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. Some strange confluence out of the dialogue and Early Colonial (Kaphar) plus Bicentennial/Jim Crow reflection (Andrews) stirred things up…& made me recall the peculiar but beautiful work of Frohawk Two Feathers who was de vogue a few years back, with prominent Chelsea gallery representation & who I have never met but this particular project is extremely similar to my inner imaginorium/worldview – although he is younger than I, born (interestingly) in the year of the American Bicentennial, 1976: Heartbreaking and shit, but that’s the globe. The Battle of Manhattan
(By Frohawk Two Feathers)
Chicago-born, LA-based Frohawk Two Feathers is the alias of Afro-Native artist Umar Rashid (who also does vanguard and alt-hip-hop music under the monikers Kent Cyclone & Tha Grimm Teachaz); and the 2014 culmination of a series of his work blending Afrofuturism and fact / fiction of early settler colonialism in the Americas caught my notice for decades prior to my arrival in New York City — in part due to my Native American great aunt Helena’s residence in Harlem since the 1930s — I had been an (alternative) history buff preoccupied with the lore of the Ramapough, Jacks-and-Whites / other isolates of the area; the apocryphal sale of Manahata and the Algonquin villages of the landmass; and the religious/occult traditions arising from the upstate Burned-Over District. [Which also drew my interest to the now-defunct Sundance network show The Red Road, which focused on Ramapough, starring half-Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa who claims Native American & for which my cousin’s wife Marcey Tree-In-The-Wind served as a consultant.] Two Feathers’ work seemed to at least gloss similar concerns:
“Bonnie Prince Johnnie, flamboyant pharaoh of New York; Francesca, a.k.a. Tisiphone, Native American assassin; Maurits de Wolff, former slave and soldier extraordinaire; Akosua Van Der Zee, wrathful feminist and malicious schemer.
These are a few of the characters in a wildly original telling of the fictional Battle of Yonkers in 18th-century New York; their portraits and those of other tattooed warriors, misled rulers and vengeful women…
…[final] installment of “The American Proteus: An Invocation and the Wars Between the Rivers,” an alternative account of the colonization of northeastern North America that is both written and visual in form, epic in scope, and built around the imaginary Republic of Frengland (a combination of England, France and Ireland).”
There were paintings that were meta portraits or sometimes reminiscent of historical battles depicted on deerskins or echoing ledger art, mixed with art forms of ancient KMT & tipis on display as well. They were somewhat unnerving, for it was like an unknown Spirit had excavated my interior landscape & reproduced it for all eyes to see. And I will leave it at that for now, for there’s far more concerning this work that I wish to explore…A’ho*
(By Frohawk Two Feathers)
So, I am off for a meeting with fellow Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance & Algonquin Pipeline folks of NYC to plan for our future actions, including more benefits for the water protectors of the Oceti Sakowin & many other nations. We just sent another bus off full of volunteers and many supplied donations to Standing Rock this past Sunday, so celebrating their road sojourn with them!
Here’s the latest press, from the Indigenous Peoples Day action I did last Monday, which mentions the Standing Rock benefit (Sacred Water Medicine Show) briefly: THE NATION
Enjoy your mid-week!
Black&White images from The Native & The Refugee’s album of #DecolonizeThisMuseum, Decolonize This Place’s Anti-Columbus Day Tour of American Museum of Natural History on Monday 10/10/2016 – Photographs by Vane Terán
Yet more coverage of the Indigenous Peoples Day action @ American Museum of Natural History — the attempt to #DecolonizeThisMuseum & the Anti-Columbus Day Tour of the galleries seems to have really struck a nerve in art & activist circles. Read more here (including photograph of me): FRIEZE: Election Special – Body Languages
(From Frieze.com – Photograph: Andrés Rodriguez)
Here is the footage by Peter Eliscu covering the actions I was involved in from this past Monday in Manhattan, October 10, 2016: #IndigenousPeoplesDay > #DecolonizeThisMuseum @ American Museum of Natural History > & the subsequent march through the Upper West Side commemorating the young Lakota man murdered by police in Rapid City, South Dakota, after attending a #NativeLivesMatter rally in 2014, Allen Locke.
In this film, I am dancing & reading the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 declaration.
Decolonize This Place’s Monday action @ American Museum of Natural History in NYC – #DecolonizeThisMuseum – was a resounding success & has been getting coverage in outlets as diverse as the Guardian (UK) & Bitch. I have already linked the press which included interviews with me on the subjects of Indigenous Peoples Day, why I am standing in solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin of Standing Rock / #NoDAPL, & ongoing issues with museum and archival collections established in the 19th century and earlier and how they resonate with us today in the 21st century. Here are some more images from the action, by myself or ones featuring me by Betty Yu. Looking forward to organizing more with #DecolonizeThisPlace – A’ho*
Kandia Crazy Horse reading the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 declaration @ American Museum of Natural History – on the Theodore Roosevelt statue @ Central Park West & 79th Street (Credit: Betty Yu)
(by Betty Yu)
(by Betty Yu)
(Inside the galleries of American Museum of Natural History, by our #NoDAPL chronicler, Dan Vea)
(Andrew of #DecolonizeThisPlace @ the Hall of African Mammals, American Museum of Natural History, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
(#DecolonizeThisMuseum in the Rotunda, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
(Brother Amin Husain of #DecolonizeThisPlace & my Virginia homegal, artist Marz Saffore (in #BlackLivesMatter hoodie), of NYU in the galleries @ American Museum of Natural History, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
(1 of 2 original #DecolonizeThisPlace posters for the #DecolonizeThisMuseum action, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
(Artivists covering the statue of Theodore Roosevelt outside American Museum of Natural History in echo of the 1971 Lakota action, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
Howdy y’all of Indian Country & beyond! Although my trip to Standing Rock (departing yesterday) was postponed, I am coming off a whirlwind of three days’ activity about the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance & working to establish Indigenous Peoples Day in NYC and throughout Turtle Island. My benefit for our Standing Rock water protectors, the Sacred Water Medicine Show (AKA Water Is Life – Solidarity Concert), went very well Saturday night in TriBeCa & there are some possible future shows in store – stay tuned! Will be posting photographs & live footage soon.
Sunday, despite the rains, we were at Central Park across from Columbus Circle, commemorating our Ancestors & holding forth on the experiences and leadership of Native women @ the Indigenous Day of Remembrance; I sang one of my original songs, and participated in some ceremonies besides dancing. Photos to come…
Yesterday, I did another action with Decolonize This Place: the Anti-Columbus Day Tour of the American Museum of Natural History for their #DecolonizeThisMuseum event. Here below is the press thus far that contains parts of interviews I gave on the topics of Indigenous Peoples Day, the benefit, and why I am #StandingWithStandingRock as an indigenous revolutionary to the Guardian (UK), The Nation, & the paper that I used to write for/help edit, the Village Voice. Yes, we (mostly) covered the infamous statue of Theodore Roosevelt that fronts the entrance to the Museum, but we also spread some very important messages. This is a heady Indigenous Week of a lot of related events here in NYC, and you will see me out — after I finally get a disco nap! A’ho*
(Kandia Crazy Horse reading the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 declaration, on the covered statue of Theodore Roosevelt with African & Native American men @ American Museum of Natural History NYC – Credit: Betty Yu)