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  • Gold! Riches and Ruin |Natives and Outsiders

    by Johanna Blume, Eiteljorg assistant curator | Mar 26, 2015

    For years George Carmack, the son of a California forty-niner, took credit as the first to discover gold in the Klondike in 1896. However, two First Nations men who were related to him by marriage may have been the first. Historians now acknowledge that Skookum Jim Mason, the brother of Carmack’s wife, Kate, and Tagish (or Dawson) Charley likely made the find. Regardless, as the word spread it triggered a massive stampede to the Far North.

    The Canadian government foresaw the need to establish a law enforcement presence along the border between the United States and Canada, and in the communities growing and developing in response to the gold rush. The rapid increase in population led to the Yukon Territory’s establishment as a province. Many American gold seekers didn’t realize at first that the discovery existed in another country, and they chafed under Canadian authority.

    A vibrant and diverse indigenous population had long occupied the region. Because of their familiarity with the landscape, many First Nations people were hired as packers and guides on the trails to Dawson, and some worked mining claims. Although many of the outsiders adopted aspects of Native culture, such as wearing parkas and mukluks, overall the Yukon-Klondike gold rush led to the systematic degradation of the Native cultures in the region. 

     NWMP Constables Leason

    Klondikers and Indian Packers                      

     [TOP]
    NWMP Constables Leason, Cutting, Brown, Harrington, Ward, Livingstone, Campbell and Ball posing on White Pass Summit beside Union Jack and US Flag with Unidentified Civilian at Extreme Right, 1899
    Image courtesy of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Historical Collections Unit; 1933.8.1

    [BOTTOM]
    Klondikers and Indian Packers near Stone House, Chilkoot Trail, Alaska, 1897
    Photographer: Frank LaRoche
    Image courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections; LaRoche 10042

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  • Gold in the Black Hills

    by James H. Nottage & Johanna M. Blume, Eiteljorg curators | Mar 26, 2015

    Hedren-3 - resized for blackhills blog

    Custer’s Black Hills Expedition, 1874
    Image courtesy of Paul L. Hedren

    A treaty with the Lakota Nation in 1868 guaranteed the tribe’s right to occupy its beloved homeland, Paha Sapa, the Black Hills of Dakota Territory. As rumors of gold being found in the region spread, the government at first discouraged trespassers on the Indian land. However, in 1874 the Army sent Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry to explore the region. The expedition entered the Black Hills with more than 1,000 men, 100 wagons, a brass band, geologists, and reporters. When gold was found, word spread rapidly, and the rush was on. Although efforts were made initially to stop intrusions on the Lakota land, the tide of prospectors swept in, unrestrained by the federal government.

    President Ulysses Grant tried but failed to purchase the Black Hills from the Lakota. Abandoning efforts to keep intruders from the Black Hills, the government summarily ordered the Indians onto a reservation by January 31, 1876. The war that resulted is sometimes referred to by the Lakota as “the fight where we lost the Black Hills.” To this day, Lakota writers and leaders make the violation of the 1868 treaty and the taking of the Black Hills a core theme of their advocacy for tribal rights.

    Gold has been found at several places. . . . I have on my table forty or fifty small particles of pure gold . . . most of it obtained today from one pan full of earth.

    —George Custer’s report to General Alfred Terry, 1874

    The Americans stole my country, and the gold in the Black Hills. We asked the Americans to give us traders, instead they give us death. All of them robbed, cheated, and laughed at us.

    —Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull), Hunkpapa Lakota 1877

    All of our origin stories go back to this place. We have a spiritual connection to the Black Hills that can’t be sold. I don’t think I could face the Creator with an open heart if I ever took money for it.

    —Rick Two Dogs, Oglala Lakota spiritual leader, about 2011

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  • The Discovery of Gold in California

    by James Nottage, Eiteljorg chief curatorial officer | Mar 22, 2015
    My eye was caught by something shining in the bottom of the ditch. . . . I reached my hand down and picked it up; it made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold. The piece was about half the size and shape of a pea. Then I saw another.

     —John W. Marshall on the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, January 24, 1848

    The first discovery of gold in Mexican California, which took place near Los Angeles in 1842, was a minor finding that attracted little attention. At that time the attitude of “Manifest Destiny,” which promoted the idea that the young nation must expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific, was embraced by many Americans. This belief became the justification for a controversial war with Mexico beginning in 1846. Texas was annexed that year, battles were waged through the fall of 1847, and on February 2, 1848, the United States took control of much of the Southwest, including California. At almost exactly the same time, gold was discovered in Northern California.

    James Marshall was building a sawmill to cut lumber for construction on John Sutter’s buildings in the Sacramento valley. Sutter had a land grant from the Mexican government, and he employed many local Natives and veterans of the Mormon Battalion as laborers on the site. About January 24, 1848, bits of gold were first found in the millrace. At first the discovery was a distraction from other work. Soon it dominated hurried conversations and reports in area newspapers. By March, the rush was on.
    John Sutter portrait
    General John A. Sutter, 1851
    Stephen William Shaw
    Oil on canvas
    Image courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; BANC PIC 19xx.017—FR

     Gillespie drawings

     The Discoverer of California Gold, [John Marshall] Coloma, Dec 20th 1851
    Sutter’s Mill, Coloma, Dec. 1849
    Charles Gillespie
    Pencil on paper
    Loan courtesy of Richard M. Rogers

    Bottom:
    Gold Mining in California, 1871
    Currier & Ives
    Hand-colored lithograph
    Loan courtesy of Greg and Petra Martin

       
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  • New Art 2.0 | Dyani White Hawk

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art and Ashley Holland, assistant curator of contemporary art | Feb 02, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints, many created by Eiteljorg Fellows and contemporary Native and non Native artists. It is a blend of “op art,” landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Approximately 90 limited edition prints will be on exhibit and available for sale with prices ranging between about $500 - $4000.  New Art 2.0 closes this Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015.

    Litho Moc
    Litho Moc, 2014
    Lithograph, edition 5/9
    28 x 22 ½ inches
    Dyani White Hawk Understanding II_full image
    Understanding II, 2013
    Lithograph, edition 6/15
    22 ¾ x 17 ¼ inches

    As a woman of Lakota and European ancestry, my life experiences have been a continual negotiation of both Western and Indigenous educations, value systems, and worldviews. Through the amalgamation of symbols and motifs derivative of both Lakota and Western abstraction, my artwork examines, dissects, and patches back together pieces of each in a means to provide an honest representation of self and culture.

    Dyani White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota, born 1976) was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts and a master of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. White Hawk’s work often combines Lakota quillwork design with strong lines that echo blanket and moccasin patterns. Her care in using her abstractions to bring American Indian tradition into a dynamic contemporary context reveals a powerful intellect and remarkable originality.

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  • New Art 2.0 | Marie Watt

    by by Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art and Ashley Holland, assistant curator of contemporary art | Feb 02, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints, many created by Eiteljorg Fellows and contemporary Native and non Native artists. It is a blend of “op art,” landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Approximately 90 limited edition prints will be on exhibit and available for sale with prices ranging between about $500 - $4000.  New Art 2.0 closes this Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015.

    Marie Watt, Camp
     
    Camp, 2011
    Woodcut, edition 15/20
    20 ¾ x 16 inches

    Born to a Wyoming rancher and Seneca mother, Marie Watt (Seneca)has described herself as half cowboy, half Indian. Deeply studied in art, Watt says she "consciously draw[s] from indigenous design principles, oral traditions, and personal experience to shape the inner logic of the work I make." Much of her work, including that created at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, captures the texture and stories inherent in everyday objects. Watt was awarded an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art in 2005. 
     
    Lodge, Marie Watt
    Lodge, 2005
    Woodcut, edition 20/20
    16 ½ x 14 inches 
    Plow, Marie Watt
    Plow, 2011
    Woodcut, edition 15/20
    20 ¾ x 16 inches
    Tether, Marie Watt
    Tether, 2011
    Woodcut, edition 15/20
    20 ¾ x 16 inches

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