In this paper I investigate and unpack the questions and frustrations that I have with Indian art and the Indian art world. It will explore failed attempts to define a culture through the Silver Hand authentication standards, the use of problematic language such as the term “Native American,” and other records of our history. In conclusion, I set out to prove that due to forms of pigeonholing, many indigenous cultures are not moving forward but are remaining stagnant.
In my thesis work I explore the gray area in which contemporary and indigenous art coexist through conducting research, defining terms, analyzing experience, and comparing artist influences. Because of colonization and trade, many Native American objects and literature are housed in institutions. I have had to relearn my heritage by researching in these institutions and investigating what it is to be a Native American. My final thesis body of work consists of a mock museum exhibition through which I am attempting to address and better understand my position as a contemporary indigenous artist.