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Creating Survivance: Art and Indigenous Wellness

Year of Funding: 
“’That night they dreamt of unknown landscapes,’ (comes again),” Micheal Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota)

Symposia and artist talks: February 14-15, 2019, University of Washington, Bothell

Representations of Indigenous people have been at the center of historical and ongoing struggles between settler-colonial efforts at Indigenous erasure and Indigenous efforts at continuance as sovereign, self-determining nations. Toward erasure, settler societies regularly represent Indigenous peoples as tragic figures fated for dispossession, displacement, and eventual disappearance to make way for “American progress.” Toward continuance, Indigenous peoples use a range of creative practices to unsettle their representations within colonial imaginaries and generate compelling alternative images that contribute to new, self-determined understandings and pursuits of Indigenous wellness. Gerald Vizenor—Anishinaabe writer, theorist, and provocateur—characterizes these creative practices as essential to re-imagining Indigenous wellness as extending beyond mere survival or persistence. This endeavor, termed survivance by Vizenor, renounces tragedy to foster vital, self-determined understandings of Native presence and futurity. The project Creating Survivance engages these ideas through reciprocally-informed symposia and artist talks. 

Two symposia on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, explore new scholarship on art and Indigenous wellness (1-2:30 pm) and the future of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the University of Washington (3-4:30pm). Panelists include Danica Miller (UW Tacoma), Dian Million (UW Seattle), Chadwick Allen (UW Seattle), and Craig Howe (Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies).

Artists talks will engage audiences across the university on Thursday, February 14, culminating in an opening event on February 15 for Lakota Emergence, a powerful contemporary art exhibit that exemplifies Lakota self-representation contributing to vital, self-determined understandings of Lakota presence and futurity. Visiting artists will speak to the creative collaboration behind Lakota Emergence and the role of contemporary Lakota art in pursuing community wellness. Artists include Dyani White Hawk (Sičangu Lakota), Keith BraveHeart (Oglala Lakota), and Micheal Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota).

Primary Contacts

William E. Hartmann (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)

Chadwick Allen (Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and English)

Danica Miller (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma)

Dian Million (American Indian Studies, UW Seattle)

Craig Howe (Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies)