Racism is structural, institutional and systemic; so deeply embedded into American values and laws that opposing it feels unnatural and immoral. Racism is a cornerstone in the creation of the United States and everyone uniquely feels or is immune to the effects.
As an Indigenous woman who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and a tribal nation, I believe education and awareness of racism is necessary. Generally, people who benefit from racism morally believe it does not exist. However, simple history lessons reveal ongoing instances to see how foundational it is to this country’s values. Woe to those who refuse to see the inter-generational effects.
The legacy of racial healing I learned from my parents, who both endured through Federal Indian Relocation and Termination policies, was only possible by discussing acts of injustice and understanding the different roles people play in them.
I am in support of ridding the small, vibrant mountain oasis of Durango from the “Chief” sign. The “Chief” was never ours. It is a commonplace racist caricature, a poor representation of the region’s cultural landscape, an even poorer representation of the economic relationship between trader-artisan.
If Jackson Clark believes his Native friends would get lost if the sign was taken down, then I encourage him to employ one of the many Native artists whom he showcases in his gallery to erect a similar sign of himself.
Those elderly artists would appreciate the towering statue of Mr. Clark far more than the racist one currently in place.