Tuesday, October 16, 2012


"Indians in T-shirts"

Twenty years ago, poet James Thomas Stevens read from this stage while studying at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He and his classmates stepped forward wearing T-shirts and jeans following a reading by local Indian poets dressed in buckskin and beating drums. “How quickly the audience dispersed when the drum ended, when they ceased to hear mention of Coyote or Raven, of how English was ‘like a razor slicing the indigenous tongue,’” Stevens wrote in 2010, remembering the incident. “We were simply Indians in T-shirts reading about who we are today.”

—Elizabeth Harball, in the course of a truly fascinating piece on fifty years of the Institute of American Indian Arts

6 Comments / Post A Comment


As arguably the US' third largest art market, Santa Fe gets lots of attention for Georgia O'Keefe and cowboy art, but I think the role of art in the American Indian movement is this city's most interesting arts legacy. IAIA is at the heart of that.


@laurel I agree! The IAIA is highly respected and adored locally, although it is perhaps not as well acknowledged by tourists to the area.


@ghechr: Probably true, which is a shame. They do great work with the SFe schools too.


This was so relaxing! Thank you@m


1) I love Allison Hedge Coke's poetry; everyone should go read the entire book Dog Road Woman !

2) I wish that the excerpt from the article was part of one of the poems, rather than the opening lines about upending expectations? It's a strong opener but I generally prefer when the articles/summaries focus on the profiled artists, rather than on the white reaction to the profiled artists and work.


@PatatasBravas (maybe just personal preference, I'm not trying to be an ass)

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