earth wagon
Earth Wagon,
1994, steel 

Current definitions and identifications of being Native American must be challenged and reevaluated before a genuine contemporary and meaningful identity can emerge. The infrastructure of this self description must use an honest portrayal of our contemporary human condition and reliance on traditional philosophical cultural knowledge as a guiding reference.

I am not convinced that Indian bloodlines or tribal number can make someone Indian ~ I do not misrepresent the elders or the children for personal glorification ~ I do not accept Mother Earth-Father Sky references as more than metaphor ~ I am not genetically courageous or claim to be a warrior of today ~ I do not believe the creator or life giver specifically references humanity ~ I do not worship the eagle, the sun, the moon, the turtle or myself ~ I am not one with nature, a noble savage or innately wise ~ I do not use pollen, corn meal, tobacco, sage or cedar as proxy for western religious beliefs ~ I do not believe the four, five, six or seven directions are necessarily sacred ~ I am not superior to other tribes, other cultures or other races ~ I do not accept post-modernism or native modernism as Indian art definitions ~ I do not walk in prettiness while ignoring concepts of balance ~ I am not living in two worlds and don’t glorify the effects of assimilation ~ I do not use popular, non-Apache generic Indian rhetoric or greetings ~ I do not use proud or stoic as the finite definition of my Indian identity ~ I am not driven by anger, immaturity, greed, self servitude or childlike passions ~ I do not greet with a non-Apache or politically correct ethnic handshake ~ I do not turn our olders into elders simply because they are older ~ I am not convinced that modern concepts of individualism replace tribe or culture ~ I do not believe that heaven is vertical or up, white is good or black is bad ~ I do not believe intermarriage to Euro-Americans makes Indian children smarter ~ I am not living in the past by believing that there is an indigenous Apache future ~ I do not bow my head or look up during prayer or ceremony ~ I do not limit my questioning by western or traditional frameworks ~ I am not compelled to seek attention, acceptance, or respect to justify my work ~ I do not place prestige over cultural responsibility and commitment ~ I do not believe non-tribal people can honestly speak for indigenous people ~ I am not ignoring our need to cry, laugh, feel pain, or think ~ I do not believe that nobility is awarded or makes you noble or superior ~ I do not believe that lifestyle maintenance justifies environmental desecration ~ I am not dependent on Indian Speak to maintain an indigenous identity

Bob Haozous

© 2009 Bob Haozous - All Rights Reserved