Decolonizing Native American Art: The Indigenous Resistance

vera longtoe sheehan decolonizing native american art

On Friday, Feb. 24, the Indigenous Peoples Alliance, founded by senior Lina Longtoe, hosted Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association Vera Longtoe-Sheehan to talk to the community about the Decolonization of Native American Art.

Longtoe-Sheehan presented students with some of the experiences and realities she and so many other Native American artists have endured, including the issue of making and selling authentic Native American art.

Due in large part to the Indian Arts and Craft Act of 1990, indigenous communities like the Abenaki tribe, to which both Longtoe and Longtoe-Sheehan belong, couldn’t legally sell their art as authentic Native American works for decades.
From the separation of families by arbitrary lines to a state-wide eugenics program, this was just one in a long succession of abuses the two later explained. Through it all, the Abenaki people kept their pride. “We never surrendered, we never gave up, we did, however, have to hide in plain sight,” Sheehan-Longtoe said.

Read the full story by Angelique Herring in The Current Online, the official student newspaper at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. Photo above by Angelique Herring also.

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