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State Names

2000 Jaune Quick-To-See Smith Born: St. Ignatius, Montana 1940 oil, collage and mixed media on canvas 48 x 72 in. (121.9 x 182.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Elizabeth Ann Dugan and museum purchase 2004.28 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, East Wing

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State Names

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“We are the original owners of this country. Our land was stolen from us by the Euro-American invaders . . . I can’t say strongly enough that my maps are about stolen lands, our very heritage, our cultures, our worldview, our being . . . Every map is a political map and tells a story---that we are alive everywhere across this nation . . .” Smith, Postmodern Messenger, Exhibition Catalogue, 2004

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Jaune Quick-To-See Smith has painted several maps of the United States to show how the land already occupied by ancient native communities was colonized by European settlers. Here, she included names of states that derive from Native American words, such as Wyoming, from a Delaware Indian word that means “mountains and valleys alternating,” and Kansas, from a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind.” Smith is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation in Montana and works to raise recognition of Native American art and peoples. State Names expresses her anger that the country’s lands were divided without regard for existing tribal territories.


Landscape - United States

Object - written matter - map