Indian Opinions About Values in Art

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On the ART_US page are raised questions about love of art, beauty, good and evil, suffering, maddness, pain, death, rage. Enough hard questions to get anybody kicked out of anywhere. Here, I start with just one, about MONEY, to start the opinions rolling, for openers. Linked is not opinions it's facts. It's the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) analysis of the federal Indian education budget after the axing. As for art, specifically mentioned is the fact that the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and Culture (their Museum, and interactive art lesson is on the ART_US page) may get half its current, funding but it's also slated for rapid zeroing out. That's the only direct mention of the arts. But in cutting everything from scholarships to school operating funds , the effect on Indian artists and art education is devastating. When push comes to shove, art almost always gets shoved out, because art supplies are expensive. How many $100 art books can your library buy if you can't even get math texts? What about beads, leather, feathers? What about paints and printing costs? etc. So check it out here, the current education effects as of August 3, 1995, when NIEA did the analysis and circulated this on InterNet. Elsewhere in Indian Country it's as bad or worse as these education cuts. Then there's an art-related response, to this, this being one exception to the fact these are supposed to be Indian opinion pages:

Here's an email that an Indian artist -- who's not on Internet -- asked a friend to send around to Indian people that are on the net:

Hello All,
    Thought you might like to see what someone is writing about us 
artists and funding.  Urshel is a friend of mine here in AZ, a 
Pima/Ute, and a professional artist.  -- Brent

Note:Urshel  posted this (below) on CompuServe Native 
American Interest Group. CompuServe has several million paid 
subscribers. Most Native American Interest Group participants  
are wannabes. Brent, who forwards ths, was one of the
two (the only Indian, I forget his tribe) SysOps for the CompuServe
Native American Interest Group. He was fired by Compuserve for 
trying to oppose wannabe role-playing of Indian historical figures
and fake  spiritual ceremonies conducted on-computer, and 
trying to encourage more reality such as Urshel's post, below:

Message: #39434, S/4  Native American Art
Date:    Mon, Jul 31, 1995 12:05:17 PM
Subject: Money going to Indians
From:    Urshel C. Taylor 75123,2733
To:      All

Danny Medina of the Art Talk Magazine " Danny's Column"  
said he liked what Congressman Ralph Regula is doing by shutting 
down the Institute Of American Indian Arts.  He doesn't like his 
money going to Indian's that have so much money they don't know 
what to do with from there Gambling Palace.  "NOBODY LIKES 
INDIAN ART ANY WAY".This is all news to me. I'm full blood Indian 
and don't get any money from gambling, Should I? And I've been 
paying taxes since I was 16.  Okay maybe he's right, we Indians 
shouldn't have anything, such as education. We should stay on the 
Reservations (former prison camps) and live in our tipi's and beat on 
our "tom-tom" for the tourist's and say "how" to everyone that goes
by.  I think that would make Danny "the bigot" feel a lot better.

The money I see being spent here in Sells area is used for and Old 
Age Home,  many jobs -- such as rebuilding bridges, putting in 
plumbing and/or electricity -- that's never been there before.

        Urshel Pima/Ute

PS. speaking of waste....we Indians are not up there yet with the 
people that are being funded to paint mountain side rocks to make 
them look more like rocks. (this is true, not made up) I need back up 
on this Issue. I can send anyone a copy of his column. Leave
address in E-Mail.  Please respond here: Give me permission to copy 
your letter and send to Danny Medina.

Or write to:  Danny Medina
              PO Box 8508
              Scottsdale, AZ 85252

Some of us wanted to see the whole thing, so we asked, and ...
Hi All -- Here's the article that Urshel saw in "Art-Talk" (below). Since I'm local, I did manage to find a phone number for the executive offices (also below).-- Brent =============================================== ART-TALK, Part Two DANNY'S COLUMN by Danny Medina Oh hell, I'm on a roll ---- Another thing going on in Santa Fe is a bill introduced by Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula which will cut all funding for the Institute of American Indian Arts, which apparently has been receiving 11 million bucks annually! Well, I say ... why the hell should my taxes help fund the IAIA??? First of all, the Indians are making more damned money than they know what to do with in their gambling palaces that dot the reservations.I say, let them fund their own damned art schools. They can't have it all their own way. Besides, Anglos are the ones doing all the gambling so they're still funding the IAIA but in a different way. Besides, there are a lot of people out there who don't give povi povi wah (that's Indian language) about the Indian arts so why should they fund such stuff?! Not only that, but I have to do a fund raiser at least once a year to help raise money for the Scottsdale Artists' School, and I don't see the gambling establishments on the Indian reservations helping me. Do you realize just how far ONE million bucks would go to help anybody get ELEVEN million??!! Sacre bleu! Something is verrrrrry wrong here. Do we fund Hispanic art schools, oriental art schools, Irish art schools ?...
Danny Medina Art Talk PO Box 8508 Scottsdale, AZ 85252
Bill Macomber, Editor, Art Talk Mailing Address: PO Box 8500, Scottsdale, Arizona 85252 Executive Office located at: 4243 North Brown, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 voicephone 602/948-1799

Medina's column, in an art magazine (the requested statement wasn't sent with a full cite) helps to explain those deep budget cuts, by the attitude he frankly and profanely expresses, which is probably commonly held more silently by many others. If you want to discuss this -- either his opinions or the budget cuts -- don't sink to his level, be cool and spell it right, too.

It is important to challenge those expressing views like this, but as a matter of strategy, you are not going to change such a person's mind. If you were to write a letter to the editor of the Art Magazine in which this column appeared, your purpose would be to affect the attitudes and beliefs of other readers of the magazine. That is more important than (for example) getting a meaningless appology from Medina or an assertion that he has a right to his opinions (even if they are racist). Being cool and sticking to facts and logic, as Urshel did is the best way to do this. But maybe you just want to discuss it here?

Tell your age/tribe (descent if not enrolled), school, age, connection with art if you are an artist or want to be in your emails to ths Art OPINION page. Put ART OPINION in the Subject line of the email's header. Remember too those Big Questions from the ART_US page are still on the table for discussion. If you don't want it be discussed publicly here, talk about it with your friends, but don't email it to me. Sorry, people of non-Indian descent, unless you have an Indian connection, such as Art Teacher at an Indian school, express your opinion where it may do some good: elsewhere. If Art Talk's columnist Danny Medina gets dumped on personally too much here and emails me some defense, I will post it here. But young people, try to deal with the problems and issues, not personalities.(Racism is not a presonality thing, though.)

Explanatory text and graphics copyright 1995.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 1995 - 5:04:05 AM