Counter-history & the Other – Ruth Cuthand, Archer Pechawis, Tasha Hubbard & Sherry Farrell Racette

January 2016 - April 2016

Ruth Cuthand, Archer Pechawis, Tasha Hubbard & Sherry Farrell Racette

History in North America has a dominant narrative of past events that have shaped the national imaginary in the United States and Canada. For the Indigenous people, their history has been written over and are now seen by the West as Other. Edward Said coined the term other[1] to interrogate the West and their view of the East; but the same critique could be applied here in North America. It can be said that Indigenous people of this land are perceived as other within history, politics and culturally.

Counter-history is how we as Indigenous people counter the dominant narrative and insert our history in a number of ways. Traditionally Indigenous people recorded history as visual narratives on buffalo robes, petroglyphs, tattooing, wampum belts and rigorous memorization of oral histories. These are just a few examples of how history was relayed, none of which was written in the form of books.

In Counter-history and the Other, artists were invited to create visual counter-histories to push against what we have been presented as history by Western society in the past and presently. Work by artists Ruth Cuthand, Archer Pechawis, Tasha Hubbard and Sherry Farrell Racette present visually not only the concept of Indigenous history but of Indigenous memory and difficult knowledge no longer written over. There is power in the act of resistance through voice and voice can come in many formats whether the written word, the spoken word or visual language.

Felicia Gay, Curator

[1] Said Edward W, Orientalism, Vintage Books a division of Random Books, New York, 1979