Assembly Line Chief questions the collection of the contemporary “traditional” Indian Artifact. When I was a young adult, a non-Aboriginal friend of mine bought one of these plastic Chief’s bonnets and hung it from his rear-view mirror. He was proud of this item feeling that he had gotten a piece of Traditional Indian culture. All I could think was, “it’s made with safety pins!” Nevertheless, items such as these play many roles in society: they remind us of the continued stereotyping of Aboriginal people through the commodification of such goods, they represent a way to make a living, in a small kitschy way they represent our culture and they provide humor because of that kitschy-ness.
Ultimately, though, a Chief cannot be made on a plastic and safety pin assembly line.
IMAGES TOP TO BOTTOM:
Assembly Line Chief detail images 2010) plastic beads and safety pins, 31” x 61”
Assembly Line Chief wall installation (2010) plastic beads and safety pins, 31” x 61”
August 23, 2019