Native Pride in Heavy Syrup

Steel, Enamel


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In 2002, the State of Oklahoma commissioned Native artist Kelly Haney to create a bronze sculpture for the top of the newly remodelled state capitol building. This multi-million dollar project asked for the representation of a "generic indian type" so as to represent all the tribes of Oklahoma.

Is this a healthy thing? Do we not already have plenty of "generic indian types" that pop up in every other magazine, movie or novel? I wonder what the Native peoples of Oklahoma might think?

In response to this event, I created a commodity can that has the image of this "generic indian" on the front. For those of you not familiar with government commodities, these are the canned goods that are provided to impoverished Americans (including Indians) as part of our social welfare program.

On top of the larger can are other smaller versions with archival labels made on my computer. All the labels provide typical government commodity information:

Ingredients: Pride, Despair, Hope and Pain.

Instructions: Heat and Serve. Season with Holiday and Speeches. Allow for Oxidation.

Store in a high profile location. When finished, deposit in an approved landfill area.