Song of Sorrow

  • Shan Goshorn, Song of Sorrow, 2015, ink and acrylic paint on watercolor paper splints, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Kenneth R. Trapp Acquisition Fund, 2021.32, © 2021, Thomas Pendergraft

Shan Goshorn wrote Navajo, Lakota, and Kaw prayers of healing and well-being onto the brilliant blue splints of this basket. She intended the prayers for the generations of Native boarding school victims — children who were forcibly separated from their families and cultures to live in prison-like facilities. Notable are the words to a Cherokee memorial song: We will remember your sacrifices. You will not be forgotten.” 


Goshorn also includes anti-Indigenous language that is woven into American culture. For example, the center white splints contain violent lyrics of the children’s song Ten Little Indians.” Together, the juxtaposed messages form a resolute basket that carry Goshorn’s call for empathy, accountability, and amends.


This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022

Title
Song of Sorrow
Artist
Date
2015
Location
Dimensions
overall_​1: 9 in. × 8 12 in. × 8 12 in. (22.9 × 21.6 × 21.6 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Kenneth R. Trapp Acquisition Fund

Mediums
Mediums Description
ink and acrylic paint on watercolor paper splints
Keywords
  • Indian
  • Object – other – basket
Object Number
2021.32
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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