Native Feminisms showcases the aesthetic richness and political power of artworks produced by contemporary Native North American artists whose practices address intersectional issues of feminisms and indigeneity.
Over thirty years ago, Laguna Pueblo scholar Paula Gunn Allen asserted the “red roots of white feminism,” arguing that “If American society judiciously modeled the traditions of the various Native Nations, the place of women in society would become central… the elderly would be respected, honored, and protected as a primary cultural resource… [and] the destruction of the biota, the life sphere, and the natural resources of the planet would be curtailed.” In other words, if settler American societies adopted the worldviews and gynarchical practices that characterized Indigenous communities prior to European invasion, contemporary sociopolitical problems would be alleviated.
Today, issues regarding women’s rights, elders’ protection, and environmental concerns are critical for many North Americans, particularly in the contexts of the #MeToo Movement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued fossil fuel extraction. The artists in this exhibition grapple with the specific ways Native communities experience these and other concerns, addressing decolonization efforts, feminine aesthetic traditions, Indigenous ecocriticism, customs of gender fluidity, violence against Native women and Two-Spirit peoples, and Indigenous futurisms.
Curated by Elizabeth S. Hawley