A good friend of mine from Florida is presently somewhere in the Dakotas, standing strong with those who are occupying the prairie in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (a field I have considerable background in – may God be with you, Lew). And as is true in all historic standoffs, there are those who say you can’t fight government and those who say you must.
Jaque Fragua, on a dare from a friend, recently painted over a temporary construction wall with “This is Indian Land” – an act which instantly brought him all sorts of attention from all sectors. Trained at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Fragua has produced more than 1,000 pieces to date, from textiles to neon signage, and sees his art as constructive—raising awareness and inspiring hope from destruction.
In this article, we are told the truth. The truth? Most people in the United States today have never spoken to a Native American, or ever seen one, and couldn’t point you in the direction of the nearest reservation. Popular knowledge about America’s first people, and the issues that matter most to them, doesn’t go much further than what’s read in coverage about D.C.’s pro football team, and when I lived in Arizona and traveled the Southwest, I realized that “we” are ignorant.
Fast forward to today. Currently embattled in my very own farmers market land access nightmare with Uncle Sam on use of a county park, I am particularly sensitive to WHO actually OWNS anything? And more importantly than ownership is the theme of control. The issue applies more to art and agriculture and agritourism than we might realize. In Fragua’s own words,
“The real history is not told. Once you start telling people the real history—of this country especially—people will get it. They’ll start asking more questions. And it’s happening really fast. I’m excited about sharing those stories and helping people become more educated, more knowledgeable about America’s backyard.”
lange: art, agriculture, agritourism. Exploring and expanding the intersections of art, agriculture, agritourism, and agrarian systems. We specialize in Florida’s creative placemaking. How can we help you grow? 941/875.5190.