03 April 2011

This Land Is Your Land


Japanese woodblock (moku hanga) and calligraphy
Image size: 18.5" x 25" (47 x 63.5 cm)
1 shina plywood block
6 hand-rubbed color layers
Paper: Etchu Pure Kozo
Edition: 7

Even when indigenous languages are considered "extinct," meaning there are no living speakers, many Native peoples feel that the language is still alive within the landscape and tribal imagination, but dormant like a winter seed.
           Philip M. Klasky, the Cultural Conservancy

All over the United States, wherever you go, you will find Native American place names. The nation is rife with towns, rivers, lakes, mountains, regions, and even states that sport Indian names borrowed by, and often mispronounced by, European colonial settlers as they moved west. Massachusetts, Manhattan, Spokane, Tallahassee, Alabama, Wichita, Tulsa — the litany is long. Hand written on this print are over 200 U.S. state, city and town names that have their origins in Native American languages. I made sure to included several from every state. I pored over an atlas, looked for names that I thought were probably Native American, and then double-checked those names in a book called Native American Place Names by William Bright.

If you're curious about what some of these names mean, National Geographic has an interactive online map with some of those names and their meanings.

Here's a closeup of the title. I included some hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades in the lettering.



Terry Peart said...

It turned out beautiful! I love the font witht the clubs, spades, etc. and the 'wool blanket' background.

Ellen said...

Hi, Annie. It's a beautiful piece. Why did you include the clubs, spades, etc? Did I miss something about these symbols?

Annie B said...

Hi Ellen. I just wanted to somehow reference what happened to all that land. I used the playing card symbols to refer to the tribal gaming that has become one of the ways that native Americans can now use what little land remains to them to best advantage.

liza myers said...

Very nice! Thanks for the wonderful research you did on this and the delicacy of your print. Congrats

liza myers said...

Ah, the casinos... I thought you might have chosen the card symbols because of cowboy poker games and the way we have gambled away our wildlands and lost.
Very interesting!
Very cool work!

groovyinclinations said...

Oh what a talented soul you are!! Wonderful!!