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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

“From Wounded Knee to Present: American Indian Art & Sovereignty”

A Native American piece featured at the Harbor Art Gallery.



On Feb. 27, 1973, 200 Oglala Lakota American Indians and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) protested against elected Tribal President Richard Wilson, whom they accused of cor- ruption. They held an armed oc- cupation of the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, for over two months. Protestors and various law-enforcement agencies engaged in frequent fire exchanges, in which one police officer and two Native American protestors died.

10 photographs from that siege, taken by artist Owen Luck 29 years ago, will be featured in an exhibit at the Harbor Art Gallery until April 26. Luck’s collection also includes portraits of people from different Native American tribes and towns across the country.

“I had always been a good por- trait photographer. I really liked these people. They deserved to have their portraits taken,” said Luck, who has an extensive background in film and photography. His pho- tographs range from fishing, canoe- ing, interaction with other tribes, raising totem poles and longhouses, to sweat lodge ceremonies from all over the United States.

The exhibit, “From Wounded Knee to Present: American Indian Art & Sovereignty,” features pho- tographs, paintings, and carvings of American Indian art from three different artists.

Artist Micah McCarty showcased sculptures made from such as elk hide, whalebone, red cedar and bearskin. One piece from 2007, titled “Messenger of Change” was a mannequin wearing an elabo- rate face mask carved from red ce- dar with bark as the hair and a bear skin shawl draped over the body. It is inspired by the Native American whaler Pook Oops, whose spirit, according to legend, returned to his dead body after it washed ashore.

A painting titled “Exile,” by Rob- ert Peters, is a large cityscape of ur- ban life with skyscrapers, highways, and cars. “Our oppression comes from different things,” Peters said. “We never believed we owned the land, we were just caretakers of it, but now everyone wants owner- ship.” Peters added that his art is about “what’s happening through a NativeAmericanlens.” materials