Strong & Proud Series

Scott Denny

Green Bay, United States

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Artist's Description

This series was taken at the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin 37th Annual Pow Wow. Dancers come from around the United States and Canada to particpate in this July 4th weekend celebration of strenght and endurance.

The Oneida settled in Wisconsin around the 1820’s. By 1838 the Treaty the Oneida was signed identifying a reservation of a little over 66,000 acres.

The US Government was not satisfied with secluding Indian tribes to reservations. In 1891 the Dawes Allottment Act was passed which took away land owership from the tribe as a whole and divided it amongst its members.

The effect?

The land granted to most allottees was not sufficient for economic viability, and division of land between heirs upon the allottees’ deaths resulted in land fractionalization. Most allotment land, which could be sold after a statutory period of 25 years, was eventually sold to non-Native buyers at bargain prices. Additionally, land deemed to be “surplus” beyond what was needed for allotment was opened to white settlers, though the profits from the sales of these lands were often invested in programs meant to aid the American Indians. Native Americans lost, over the 47 years of the Act’s life, about 90 million acres (360,000 km²) of treaty land, or about two-thirds of the 1887 land base. About 90,000 Indians were made landless.

As years passed the Oneida went from owning a little over 66,000 acres to owning as little as around 200 acres. Today we own near 23,000 acres of the original land.

Prior to the settling of Europeans, natives,of later known America, occupied land but did not own it. In the 1800’s indigenous people paid with thier lives, dignity, integrity, and identity only to be placed on reservations that had land they could not hunt or farm with any respectful success. They life they had known for centuries was gone.

Attending a pow-wow gives you a glimpse of indigenous ways. It is a celebration of strength and the ability to endure.

Although my spirtiual beliefs differ from the Oneida way, I am proud to be Oneida. I am proud to be a descendant of those indigenous to the land called the USA.

As an Oneida, I am proud that our people have stood by the side of the US Governement in every single war. Although I have never served, I am proud. The Oneida have always strived to be good neighbors.

If you ever get a chance to attend a pow-wow, do so. The natives dancing are direct descendants of the native people originally occupying this land called the USA.

Before there were African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, there were the indigenous people of this land.

They paid dearly as this land was overtaken and converted to the USA. Nevertheless, even though we do not get the air play like other minorites, we stand strong and proud.

Thank you.

Artwork Comments

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