June 7–September 21, 2008 George Gustav Heye Center, New York

Dustinn Craig Dustinn Craig
White Mountain Apache/Navajo, b. 1975, Mesa AZ

Apache kids with skateboards live with dreams so large they will never dare to tell anyone. Yet those dreams get a little smaller each year, with the death of another friend, or the impossible success of another. This is the story of young Apache men growing into a world they fear will crush them into shame and obscurity. Some of these boys are fathers, alcoholics, dropouts, artists, writers, and poets. Some are dead, ghosts recollected on drunken nights when the world hurts too much to try.

Fausto Fernandez Fausto Fernandez
Mexican/American, b. 1975, El Paso TX

I believe we live in a society that lacks freedom, where most of the things we do are products of information from outside sources, such as guidelines, laws, procedures, time, and numbers. The blueprints, sewing patterns, and maps in my work represent the guides we follow in our life to create a more stable way to go through daily routines.

Luis Gutierrez Luis Gutierrez
Mexican/American, b.1969, Mesa AZ

I like to say I’m painting road signs for people to give them a basic understanding of what’s coming next or where they’re at now. I think the idea [of] trying to maintain an identity in your work is secondary to trying to maintain an identity within yourself.

David Hannan David Hannan
Métis, b. 1971, Ottawa ON

In this work I have tried to tackle some of the complex issues surrounding contemporary Métis and their relationship to the Canadian landscape. My relationship to the land is obviously important, but is continually changing, and does not rely on old stereotypes that have been perpetuated by many artists in the past. This installation shows us that the relationship to the land is quickly becoming more and more urbanized, entangled between traditional life and adapting and living in an urban society.

Gregory Lomayesva Gregory Lomayesva
Hopi/Hispanic, b. 1971, Phoenix AZ

Everything I do is based in this merging of styles and backgrounds: pop art with Spanish art, Native art with surrealism, images I find in Vogue with folk legends my mom has told me. Still, you’re always kind of bound by “the assumption,” by other people’s assumptions.

Brian Miller Brian Miller
Mohawk, b. 1969, Greece NY

One night on an empty road in New Hampshire in the fall of 2001, I picked up a woman who was hitchhiking. She proposed that I photograph her in exchange for giving her a place to stay for a few days. The reality became progressively stranger, and a couple of days became three and a half weeks. I photographed her incessantly, without thinking. Certain images remind me of Dante’s Inferno, his descent into hell. I began to see the old dirt roads and abandoned places of New Hampshire as a modern analog for hell. They now seem to be haunted places.

Franco Mondini-Ruiz Franco Mondini-Ruiz
Tejano/Italian, b. 1961, San Antonio TX

We’re not purely American and, if we go to Mexico, we’re not Mexicans, either. We are the American story; we’re a hybridization of culture.

Kent Monkman Kent Monkman
Cree/English/Irish, b. 1965, St. Mary’s ON

Throughout my work in various mediums, the persona of Miss Chief challenges the authoritative version of history by playing the starring role in “period” photographs, silent era films, and romantic paintings. Through this re-imaging of history, missing narratives are explored as Miss Chief subverts the authority of the often-flamboyant artists who created images of Aboriginal people in the nineteenth century. With a showmanship that rivals that of artists like George Catlin and Edward Curtis, Miss Chief challenges the subjectivity of their work by calling into question personal motivations, career ambitions, and ego.

Nadia Myre Nadia Myre
Anishinaabe, b. 1974, Montreal QC

My interests in art making have been predominately focused on the deconstruction of lingual and material languages as a method of understanding. I am equally interested in “the story”—collective memory and wounds—as it relates to the colonization of Anishinaabe people. I move around from mediums in an effort to express my ideas as best I can.

Alan Natachu Alan Natachu
Zuni/Laguna, b. 1980, Zuni NM

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. Video games no longer are associated with the stigma of being child’s play. They have made their way from dissipated arcades to the main rooms of the household, often sitting next to the modern day storytellers of DVD players and satellite dish receivers. Playing NDN is derived from many caffeine-laced nocturnal adventures involving flashing pixels, automated beeps, and the never-ending quest for extra lives. This work is my attempt to examine the portrayal of the Native American motif in console video games.

Hector Ruiz Hector Ruiz
Kickapoo/Mexican/American, b. 1971, Houston TX

All my life I have lived in a border state. I have lived with the reality of an ethnic, cultural, and very real racial border between my people. In my work, I explore the bicultural paradoxes and multiracial visions and expos of the Eurocentric community and country I live in. Culture is without borders, but once mixed with Western culture, it is about change.

Anna Tsouhlarakis Anna Tsouhlarakis
Navajo/Creek/Greek, b. 1977, Lawrence KS

I create pieces that reveal a truth that has been hidden or neglected. The realm of Native America is full of romanticism and spirituality. Unfortunately most Native American art is held to that same limitation and therefore has remained stagnant. I question why those limitations transfer to the gallery setting and why they have maintained their presence for so long.

Kade Twist Kade Twist
Cherokee, b. 1971, Bakersfield CA

The Way the Sun Rises over Rivers Is No Different Than the Way the Sun Sets over Oceans is a meditation on the contemporary Cherokee diaspora and our search for a sense of place, cultural meaning, and beauty between the Illinois River of Oklahoma and the Pacific Ocean beaches—the idealized geographies that define the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Cherokee diaspora of California.

Bernard Williams Bernard Williams
African American/Native Ancestry,
b. 1964, Chicago IL

My work originates from a “museum aesthetic.” I attempt to appropriate some of the formal practice of museums. These institutions around the world hold and collect vast stores of objects, images, and information. Materials are displayed or held carefully out of sight. My recent works display fragments and personal discoveries that are then presented with familiar material. They are highly graphic, congested diagrams that mimic historical collections. They are themselves neither histories, chronologies, nor taxonomies. The interpretations are impulsive and intuitive. They are attempts to manage the overwhelming complexities of constructing histories that evoke worldviews.

Steven Yazzie Steven Yazzie
Navajo/Laguna/Welsh, b. 1970, Newport Beach CA

This work was initially conceived out of a found hubcap and a conversation I had with a friend about the Jeffersonian grid. During the great westward exploration and expansion of the United States, new challenges arose on how to define and divide land. Thomas Jefferson suggested a grid system based on the rectangle. The grid is divided into plots of one mile square, each consisting of 640 acres…. Sleeping with Jefferson is a response to a global experience more frequently predetermined by algorithms and computer models and is about the long-drawn-out philosophical bloodlines we have created and destroyed, through progress, necessity, choice, and best-case scenarios.