Alternative history's encounter

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Comments (5)

EVA_L on May 19, 2008

Unusual and iteresting place, dear Yan! Can I hope on your small explanation? Best wishes. Eva

Ian Stehbens on May 19, 2008

Dear Eva,

Thank you for your viewing this image and for your question. I actually do not know enough about this sculpture. It was being unveiled the morning I was there in 2005 - about an hour later. But the little I know, it is the work of an indigenous American, and I understand it is a critique of the oppression of their people that would have been initiated during the gold rushes. And I presume the various dates refer to specific massacres of that particular tribe.

The installation is entitled Wheel and the sculptors name is Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds.

The work of ten red Ys or trees is at the entrance to the Denver Art Museum. On their website it is described as follows: Inspired by Native American architectural forms and the Big Horn medicine wheel in Wyoming, Wheel is composed of ten tree forms arranged in a circular shape that is fifty feet in diameter. The trees are aligned to the summer solstice—on June 21, the sun rises in an opening to the east between the first and last trees.

Artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds covered the forked red tree forms with text and imagery related to the history of Indian people in the United States and indigenous peoples elsewhere. Each tree addresses a specific theme, from conflict over resources to global cooperation among indigenous peoples.

In addition to the tree forms, the sculpture incorporates a curved exterior wall of the museum, where the Cheyenne words nah-kev-ho-eyea-zim appear in raised letters. The phrase means “We are always returning back home again.”

But like all works of art, we the viewers are permitted our own interpretation, sometimes that may depreciate the intention of the artist, but I find that often we are able to enrich the work with our own reading of significance.

Appreciatively I send kindest regards,


EVA_L on May 19, 2008

Great, dear Yan! Thanks a lot for this story. Best wishes. Eva

Tom Lussier Photogra… on May 19, 2008

Thanks for sharing this image and the history lesson that accompanies it Ian. An unimaginable wrong was served to the Native Americans on this continent. The hurt, and misstreatment, continues to this day and, sadly, will probably never go away. A sad testiment to mankind that this type of treatment continues, even as we speak, all over the globe. I can only imagine the anguish that Native Americans and other indigenous peoples feel as a result of this treatment. Again thank you for sharing this.

Best regards, Tom

Ian Stehbens on May 20, 2008

Thanks Tom, we are of one heart and mind. But for me it is most pertinent in relation to my indigenous brothers and sisters of this continent.

Perhaps I should add a little more, in regard to Yutahs. But please I add this historical extract fully hoping that others, perhaps from the US, will correct, or add more.

"Yutahs - These Indians are subdivided into several companies, called Noaches, Payuches, Sognups and Tabrackis, all live in perfect harmony. The land they occupy is in the interior of New Mexico, on the north and north-east side. About 580 miles north of the Yutahs live the great tribe called Zaguaganas."

A. E. Domenech (1860) Seven Years' Residence in the Great Deserts of North America, London, Longman Green Longman and Robert, Vol II, Ch XXV, p66.



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  • Uploaded on May 17, 2008
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    by Ian Stehbens