May 06, 2016

Artist inserts himself in ledger paintings

An odd story about non-Native artist Scott Seekins. Among other things, he does ledger-style paintings and inserts himself into the scenes:

Scott Seekins' Great Sioux Uprising series draws ire from Native community

By Erica RiveraOver the weekend, backlash ignited on the show’s Facebook event page, where the header image, drawn in the style of ledger art, features Seekins in his signature white suit, hands raised. He is standing before a Native man on horseback who wears a headdress and is armed with a bow and arrows. A white soldier lies bleeding from the head on the ground, gun in hand.

In the discussion section of the event page, commenters have accused Seekins of cultural appropriation, calling the exhibition “problematic” and “tone-deaf.” Several people have requested via Facebook, email, and phone that the gallery cancel the show.
Gallery under fire over use of Native American imagery

Seekins says his doppelgänger is bearing witness to history. Others say he's glorifying himself at the expense of his subjects.

A couple of weeks later, the criticism continued:

“This is art about genocide” Native community pushes back against Scott Seekins

I agree with the critics. The paintings already "bear witness" to historical events. Seekins's insertion of himself doesn't improve the message or add value. A modern white guy sees a 150-year-old what?


Chief Talks to Frogs said...

Greetings, Outlander

Once again, the White Man takes the Red Man's culture and history, and turns it into a joke. Our people have suffered long and hard, just as the great oak suffers during the cold times. We are not represented in the eyes of the World Mother; even in pictures shown in the Speaking Box, our roles are played by the White Man. Where is justice for the Red Man?

In my dreams, Brother Crow whispered to me that our people will one day rise again to our original splendour. We will ride into the White Man's cities and take what is ours.

I leave this with thee, Outlander - may you be blessed with the courage of the wolf, the strength of the bear, and the wisdom of our people.

Chief Talks to Frogs said...


I notice that my comments have been deleted from this electronic smoke signal. Sadness flows through my heart just like Sister River flows through the valley. Once again, the Red Man has been denied his voice.

Chief Talks to Frogs said...

Greetings, outlander.

I see once again you have removed my comments from your electronic paper, just like the winter removes the leaves from the tree. The Red Man is pushed aside again - forced to be silenced in the face of his people's issues and stories. Let our voices be heard, outlander -just like the eagle calls from from the sky.

I send glad tidings your way. Leave my comment be and let the world hear us.

Squaw Dances with Lizards said...

I bid you greetings, Outlander.

My father, Chief Talks To Frogs, has expressed his opinions numerous times in this electronic journal. And yet, his words remain unseen... once again silenced by the forced patriarchy of the White man.

I ask you, Outlander - why is the voice of the Red man still silenced? We have silently accepted your invasion of our land, your murder of our people. Is it too much to expect that the Chief of my people to speak his mind and be heard?

We wish solidarity to flow between the Red Man and the White Man like the river flows from the mountain. But this alliance requires your cooperation, just like Brother Bear cooperates with Grandmother Owl during the cold season.

Let us be heard, Outlander.

Nathaniel "Grazing Sheep" Poe said...

Dear sir,

I am a white man who was raised by the Red Man, and have been officially inducted into his tribe by way of proving myself as a proficient hunter. I have passed the traditional rites and have spoken to the spirits of the ancestors.

I come to you in the name of Chief Talks with Frogs and his squaw. Many times they have commented on this blog, but yet their words do not appear. I ask you as a fellow white man - it is time we pay our dues to these noble people. Let their voices be heard, like the trees hear the call of the raven every morning.

We can do this together.

Brave Dancing Cow said...


I represent the voice of my Chief, Talks with Frogs and his Squaw, Dances with Lizards. Like the wolf speaks to the moon, they have spoken to you but you have not answered them. I implore you, Outlander, to let their voices be heard in this electronic letter. It is, after all, a chronicle of my people and their stories.

I applaud you for speaking out on behalf of my people but we too should have a say in the matter. Just as the Brother Cockerel crows in the morning, we too should be able to be heard.

I bit you good travels. May the spirits of our ancestors look kindly upon you.

Chief Flirts With Bears said...

Ka-hee-na-to-ka-po, stranger.

In the language of my people, it is a greeting we offer to those who have helped us.

You may be wondering how you have helped my people. My tribe is at war with another, who is led by a certain Chief Talks to Frogs. It has come to my attention, just like the bear comes to the river, that he has been asking you to put his words up on your vision page. You have rightfully refused, and now you have the gratitude of my people.

I invite you to join my people and I for a peace pipe gathering. We shall drink much firewater and speak to the spirits of our ancestors. And perhaps, after that, you may enjoy the company of one of my squaws.

Goodbye, stranger.

Chief Flirts With Bears said...

Greetings, Outlander.

I come to you once again to have my voice heard in this electronic letter. This time, it is of critical importance, just as how the rain is important to the crops. A White man's corporation intends to transform the lands of my people into a place of vice - what some would call a shopping mall. This infringes upon our rights and the memories of our ancestors.

As of now, my braves have been preparing for war. Bows have been restrung, arrows sharpened, and horses prepared. If our voices cannot be heard here, then we have no choice but to invade the White man's mall, just as we did in years past.

Spread our words, Outlander. Let us avoid the bloodshed of the past.

Napoleon "Argues With Tree" Hawking said...

Dear sir,

I am a white man who was taken in by the Lakota people as a child after a raid on camp. I was raised by them, and even initiated into the tribe as an honorary member. I hunt with them, eat with them, dance with them. I am one of them.

That being said, I bring to you sad news. One of our own, Chief David Bald Eagle, has left this earth to join the ancestors in the Dream World. He is best known as an actor, starring in great films such as Dances With Wolves.

Since you are an ally and a voice for the Native Peoples, I ask you to announce this news in your blog. Do this for the Lakota people, and we will send blessings of the ancestors to you.

May the spirit of the Bear be with you.

Squaw Grinning Baboon said...

Ka-tee-ho-ka-nuk (Greetings)

I come to you with bad tidings. Our chief Dances With Lizards has grown gravely ill. Ba-tok-nuk-tee-ha (Much sadness). My brother, Brave Lisping Gerbil, has lost his ka-to-bee-na-ho (spirit) - he sits by the river, drinking firewater all day.

However, the Shaman has said the spirits have spoken to him in dreams; that there is a ho-tak-nuk-pa (way) to save our chief. A ritual must be performed.

I shall not disclose the details of the ritual to you, Outlander. But it requires the inclusion of one not of the people... a paleface.

We ask you, Outlander, if you would do us this ha-ya-wa-lo (service). We know that you have pure thoughts about the Red Man, and are vigilant in making sure we get justice.

Please help save my father, Outlander.

Imran520 said...

Seekins says his doppelgänger is bearing witness to history. Others say he's glorifying himself at the expense of his subjects.
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Chief Jovial Lizard said...


Outlander, your electronic letter is required to spread word to our peoples across the country. Last night, the Wakaboogie tribe, led by Chief Talks To Frogs, attacked one of our settlements. They killed our braves, kidnapped our women, and drank our firewater. Much gnashing of teeth and shaking of bows was had when we returned from our hunting party.

Now we have no choice but to strike back! Our plan is to raid their settlement in a nearby country. To do this, we require the assistance of our brothers from across the land. Our smoke signals can only reach so far - we understand that you, although an outlander and paleface, are a friend of the Red Man, so help us spread our word.

You will be made an honorary member of our tribe if you offer us this helping hand.

May the ancestors smile upon you, Outlander.

-Chief Jovial Lizard.