Corey Bulpitt (Haida)
Acrylic on New York Subway map (original)
32.5″ x 23″
Land Back Series:
Graffiti writers have a long history of drawing and painting graffiti on maps, spray can labels etc using letters and iconic characters. This series uses maps to bring discussion of who the original occupants of the land are, the hereditary chief systems and the need for the choices which happen in this land to go back to the original occupants of this land who know it and protect it greater than any other through thousands of years of maintaining a peaceful relationship with the environment around us and to always think hundreds to thousands of years ahead.
This piece takes the all American nuclear family and uses our ceremony to show the juxtaposition between being programmed in a system and that of having cultural identity and laws that pertain to knowledge of place. Our laws were kept through the potlatch and through copper shield/s which were placed by the fire, upheld and danced at appropriate times and sometimes cut to shame people who didn’t keep their word. At the potlatch the giver of the event makes payment to all who come to have people agree on which areas certain clans were governing and protecting. Potlatches were made illegal as government agents tried to abolish native culture and assimilate them to their ways as they stole land and killed hundreds of thousands of woman, men and children. They were unsuccessful and for the most part we all know our clans, ancestors and systems of law which are still maintained through potlatches.