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Lesson Plans

Re: Totem Poles

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Christine Merriam (
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 12:36:03 +0000

On the subject of "real materials, etc" and cultural awareness....
Have any of you seen the great Northwest Coast Masks made from stuff
from a K-Mart? The artist is indiginous, I looked for his name, but
have not found it yet. He used hubcaps, bowls, Bicycle mirrors, etc
and composed masks that are aesthetically similar to the ancient ones
made by his ancestors, who used the materials they had available at
that time.

One thing that gets my goat is the view of artforms and cultures as
"static". You and I all know that people see new stuff, get ideas, and
incorporate them into their work for one reason or another. An example
is what is now considered "Navajo Weaving"... they learned weaving
from the Hopi, the traders at the turn of this century along the
railroad south of the reservation saw a market for the Native
weavings, and showed the weavers Oriental Carpets. What is now
considered a "traditional Navajo Art Form" is something that was
borrowed from others, the designs are Islamic .... get my drift?

Ever try to teach your own culture? I find it difficult to synthesize
my heritage into classroom lessons! Yet, we think we can teach other
cultures? We can create awareness, and RESPECT for other cultures for
sure, but it is pointless to get hung up on using cedar or baskin
robins containers....

stepping off soap box:)

Chris Merriam
Kayenta Intermediate School