[-empyre-] from Renate and Tim: on American Indian rights

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Sun Feb 21 07:01:37 AEDT 2016

Ana, Murat and all,
This discussion has been rich and varied and I thank all of you so much for sharing with us.  This post is prompted by Ana¹s commend below
Ana Valdes wrote:
Thank you Murat I think we are kind of stuck in these rethoric traps of "national states", "original people", "indigenous", etc. There are never ppl "born" in a place, there are ppl who settled down before others but that give them not right to claim any ownership.

We are hoping that many subscribers from the Americas or perhaps Australia who might want to comment on this as well. We encourage them to do so. 

Where we live in upstate New York, nestled between the hills and lakes of Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, we recognize that the land that our white predecessors came to occupy was taken from the American Indian tribes that were the original inhabitants of the Americas. Many were killed by brutal battles that eventually stripped them of all of their land.

The Cayuga Indians are part of the Haudenosaunee  or the Iroquois Confederacy.  The Confederacy is comprised of six Indian nations and the Cayuga is one of those.  Though American Indians have American citizenship, many identify instead as citizens of their own Indian nations.  There are complicated land claims issues between the Cayuga¹s and the United States government that have been unsettled in the courts for decades based on unsigned treaties by the United States Congress.  It is not uncommon as we travel from our home in Ithaca North along Cayuga Lake where obvious territorial disputes are marked by signage. 

Just a bit farther North of us, our neighbor, Canada, recognizes the "First Peoples of Canada."  We have many artistic friends in Australia whose work is dedicated to struggling for "aboriginal" and “indigenous peoples' rights."  We think it is very important that part of our alignment with these local and international movements is to adopt the language determined by them for preservation of their rights and lands.

You can imagine that your comment Ana prompted us to think about these situations and that we do not regard these as rhetoric traps but instead legalities that have compromised the welfare of not only the Cayuga’s but many more of the Haudenosaunee confederacy in upstate New York.  Our neighbors at Syracuse University ritually have an Indian blessing at the beginning of every major event to thank the forefathers the American Indians.  Cornell University as a “land-grant” university complicatedly have chosen not to do this.

 We feel a very special kinship to our American Indian neighbors who we feel have every right to claim ownership. 

All our best,

Renate and Tim

Renate Ferro and Tim Murray
Moderators -empyre soft-skinned space

On 2/19/16, 10:49 AM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of Ana Valdés" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of agora158 at gmail.com> wrote:

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