October 10, 2010

"Take a Picture with a Real Indian"

Performance Artist James Luna Observes Columbus DayThe following was released today by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian:

WHO:  Celebrated for his installation and performance work, James Luna (Puyukitchum [Luiseno]) creates art that confronts and challenges stereotypes about Native Americans, museums, art, and life through the use of irony, humor, grief, and a strong sense of storytelling.

WHAT:  In observance of Columbus Day, Luna invites the public to "Take a Picture with a Real Indian." In this restaging of his acclaimed performance work, he will invite passersby at Washington D.C.'s Union Station Columbus Plaza to have photographs taken with him that they can take away. His guises will include traditional Luiseno clothing, a stereotypical representation of a Plains Indian warrior's dress, and everyday "street" clothes. The event is free and open to the public.

WHEN:  Monday, Oct. 11th.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Stereotypes as Mental Maps and Why People Don't Care About Indians.

Below:  An unreal Indian.


Johnny White Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob said...

"Johnny White Man" aka Geno the cowardly commenter posted another personal attack on me. I deleted it.

What "tiny professional little piece" are you talking about, dumbass? I quoted a press release about a Luiseño performance artist who's doing the "real Indian" stunt. Are you accusing him of being a racist? Or are you too stupid to realize what you're saying?

Rob said...

I don't think Luna changed clothes as the press release implied he would. Rather, he posed with cardboard cutouts of himself in different outfits behind him.

To see a video of Luna's performance, go to:


Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


"Take a Picture with a Real Indian" by James Luna

An incredible thing happened today in our Nation's Capital. A man, aging, small, and at first donned only in a loin cloth, stood up for the indigenous people of this hemisphere on a day that our Nation celebrates as "Columbus Day." This brave man was celebrated performance artist, James Luna, a Puyukitchum Indian from California, and the title of this particular work was "Take a Picture with a Real Indian."

In his performance, Luna, flanked by life-size cardboard cutouts of himself, addressed the crowd, inviting them to have their picture taken with a real life Indian and reminding them that the romanticized version they grew up with, is not in sync with reality. Participants stepped onto the platform and had Polaroids taken with Luna who appeared first in traditional Luiseño clothing, then pants and shirt, and finally the stereotypical feathers and beads.