[-empyre-] Greetings empyre
Jolene K. Rickard
jkr33 at cornell.edu
Tue Nov 13 21:00:28 AEDT 2018
Nya:weh (Thanks) to Tim Murry and Renate Ferro for inviting me to be a part of the -empyre-soft_skinned space.
My participation in Duration: Passage, Persistence, Survival is as convener in collaboration with artists from the GAYOGOHÓ:NÓ or Cayuga Nation diaspora. As noted by Tim Murry, Cornell is located within Cayuga homelands but does not fully recognize it's obligation to 'territory.' The Cayuga were dispossessed and forced from their homeland in 1779 by a systematic military campaign during the American Revolution known as the Clinton-Sullivan Expedition. The Cayuga sheltered throughout Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Nations for over 229 years and have now embarked on the remarkable resistance of returning to their territorial space.
The relationship between Indigenous peoples and the United States is relevant but not at the core of the collaborative project with Cayuga artists. This tentative assemblage of these artists will be the first time since their forced removal that they will be coming together as "Cayuga" artists. The process of conversation, reclamation of Cayuga space and history will be at the center of a proposed installation at Akwe:kon, an Indigenous student residence on campus. Marking space as Cayuga will be an important action in this collaboration, but there isn't a distinct aesthetic Cayuga practice but their relationship to place is richly detailed in their language. The term 'resurgence' can be applied to the robust recovery of Cayuga culture in this moment as redress for the 'burnt earth' campaign waged against these peoples at the birth of America.
I recognize that this emblematic experience of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and settler states as a global condition. Indigenous peoples have endured the modern epoch of colonialism and are emerging from an averted erasure. But, at a moment when most have accepted the hegemonic blending of culture, this artistic intervention seeks to reclaim a distinct culture space. How will this return to Cayuga be read in an arts context insistent upon the flattening of epistemological and ontological difference?
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