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Johnson, Annika (2019) AGENCY AT THE CONFLUENCE OF DAKHÓTA AND EURO-AMERICAN ART, 1835-1912. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Recovering the dynamic experiences in the Upper Midwest that nineteenth-century pictures and records of Dakhóta people appear to obscure is the primary aim of this dissertation. It is the first to consider Dakhóta-United States relationships from an art historical perspective. The dearth of scholarship on Eastern Dakhóta art (the Bdewakaŋtoŋwaŋ, Waĥpekute, Waĥpetoŋwaŋ, Sisitoŋwaŋ) belies the central role it played in mediating U.S.-Native American relationships. Confluence, where waters merge and collide, provides a metaphor and method for tracing cross-cultural art histories in Mnísota Makhóčhe, “the place where the water reflects the clouds in the sky,” what is currently called Minnesota.

The constellation of materials examined in the following pages depicted, were made on, and even made of Dakhóta ancestral homelands. They range widely across media such as prints, paintings, čhaŋnúŋpa (tobacco pipes), porcupine quillwork, and ethnological books. The bulk of the objects fall between 1835, the year artist-explorer George Catlin claimed to discover Čhaŋnúŋp-ok’é (the Pipestone Quarry) on Dakhóta lands, and 1912 when Minnesotan settlers commissioned the first stone marker to commemorate the mass execution of thirty-eight Dakhóta men in 1862. Each chapter unravels a history of the encounter between Dakhóta and settler communities by focusing on a single work: a mineral chart, a Dakhóta crucifix carved from iŋyaŋ ša (pipestone), and a newspaper illustration of the execution.

This dissertation re-orients the methodological approach to American art historical study within Indigenous homeland by considering cultural encounter, agency, Indigenous aesthetics, and research ethics. Chapters grapple with the seeming absence of Dakhóta voices in the official archive constructed by non-Native government officials and anthropologists. The strategies employed to do so emerged from engagement with contemporary museological theory and practice regarding the exhibition of Indigenous art and culture. These include weaving contemporary Native American artworks into the discussion of historical material, as well as privileging the voices of Dakhóta elders, artists, and community leaders past and present. An additional primary method employed during the research process included consulting with Dakhóta persons in Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Johnson, Annikaannikakjohnson@gmail.comakj22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSavage, Kirkksa@pitt.eduksa
Committee MemberMcCloskey, Barbarabmcc@pitt.edubmcc
Committee MemberJosten, JenniferJEJ40@pitt.edujej40
Committee MemberScott, Saschasscott04@syr.eduN/A
Date: 20 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2019
Approval Date: 20 June 2019
Submission Date: 6 June 2019
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 199
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Native American Art; American Art; Indigenous Studies; American Art; Art History; Mni Sota Makoce; Dakota
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 15:45
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 15:45


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