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Northern Spark, 2019: We are here. An apt description. Native people have been blinded and blindsided, vilified and glorified, demonized and canonized, colonized and decolonized, fried bread and refried beans, admired for our culture, pitied for our oppression, stereotyped from a daguerreotype, stared at/looked at from a distance, picked up and used for what I am worth, then let down and left out again, cannon fodder for the capitalist. Reusable Graffiti, two nights of our music, thoughts and words. For the visitor here with us tonight on Dakota land, we ask you to be with us not only in the present, be with us in the past and future as well. Therefore, we present you “Re-Usable Graffiti”, a soundscape of music, spoken word, humor and storytelling from a band of Native artists and friends, the ultimate example of resilience, renewal and regeneration.

Flower Power, 2018: Join us for a creative cut flower installation as we heal and create public space to acknowledge the tragedy of mass incarceration in our communities. August 2, 2019 Mounds Park, St. Paul, MN. Come anytime from sunrise to sunset and bring a bouquet of flowers. Learn more here!

September 2018: Remembering, a video collage of photos taken by Dick Bancroft, AIM photographer, with song by Floyd Red Crow Western, ’35 Miles’ as tribute and memorial to these two men produced by Oyate Hotanin.

March 2018: In 2014 Oyate Hotanin commissioned Quinton Maldonado to create seven drawings to depict key narratives from the last 150 years that show the path of Lakota/Dakota historic trauma that leads to mass incarceration. This short video, with a song by Tom LaBlanc, “Wiping Tears” is our thank you to Quinton for his brilliant work.

March 2018: There is vertigo in the Minnesota Native community, a direct result of the contemporary art scene. We fight for visibility while in just the past two years the Walker Art Center, Sam Durant, Jimmie Durham, Douglas Flanders & Associates Gallery and Scott Seekins can trade in images rooted in Indigenous narrative with our unresolved grievances and trauma. In a cultural context where this assault includes Native images serving as sports mascots and big business and fashion appropriating our historical and sacred objects and images for profit. Something is wrong. Oyate Hotanin is presenting a call for Indigenous perspectives on the state of Native art. We are hosting a series of conversations in the community and launching community driven responses. Minnesota continues to be home to human rights and treaty violations of the first people here. What is art in this reality? What is the role of the art world in responding? Is the art world complicit? Who governs identity and cultural appropriation? How do we navigate authenticity versus censorship? Why do the Indigenous people remain ignored and invisible? We are the Indigenous Estate, we intend to clarify what that is, who it belongs to, and how it is protected.

May 2017: Oyate Hotanin, 2014-2017

January 2017: Strong Buffalo, Dakota Poet Thomas LaBlanc, performs a special prayer and song on the banks of the Missouri River, near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota with musical sidekick, The Custard Kid, in September 2016 . Produced by Oyate Hotanin and Wavelets Creative. Water Is Life! Support the Water Protectors! #NoDAPL. ‪#MniWiconi.

January 2017: Strong Buffalo, Dakota Poet Thomas LaBlanc and his musical sidekick The Custard Kid (JG Everest) perform the poem “Walking Down Franklin Avenue” live on Franklin Avenue in south Minneapolis in September 2016. Lead camera by Jeffrey Skemp. Produced by Oyate Hotanin & Wavelets Creative.

September 2016: Dakota Poet Thomas LaBlanc & musician JG Everest perform the poem “Mysteriously Good” live in Sisseton, South Dakota.

September 2016: Musical Poetry Duo TiWakan (Dakota poet Thomas LaBlanc aka “Strong Buffalo” and musician JG Everest “The Custard Kid”) perform the poem “Unholy” live at the Bosso Poetry showcase at Dusty’s Bar in Northeast Minneapolis.

February 2016: Tom LaBlanc at ASANDC Neighborhood project

October 2014: There is an invisible thread that connects Wounded Knee Massacre, the Dakota War of 1862, mass hanging execution of the 38+2, Fort Snelling encampment, Federal boarding schools and reservation life to present day mass incarceration of Native people. Long term imprisonment is a new phase of historical trauma, breaking up our families and eroding relationships and hope in our community, leading to a cycle of drinking, drugs and violence for too many in our circle. We still have hope and work to do.