George Longfish

Primary Medium(s): 

I am an artist. I am also a Native American of Tuscarora and Seneca heritage. Art and spirituality have always gone hand in hand for me. 30 years ago I first addressed the important issues of American history, and how this effected the Indian population after the Civil War. With the Western Expansion and the "Winning of the West," conquest of land became imperative to the dominant culture. Thus oppression of the Native Tribes including "civilizing" the savage Native person away from following Traditional Religions and instead adoption of Christian beliefs became part of the plan. Most tribes lost their homelandas they were placed on reservations – away from sacred land and away from the life style they had been living for centuries before the Europeans ever set foot on this land.

As I learned more about this part of our history, I began to learn more about the Native American spiritual philosophy and the Native perception for our relationship to the land "Mother Earth." Over the remaining years art and spirit became a more integral part of my painting in which I ask the questions revolving around the conquest issue. This led me to learn more about the four sacred plants and the four sacred elements, about the spiritual body and the natural body as well as knowing the truth from lies. I also became aware of communication with spirit whether they be animals, plants, or people both living and passed. This journey brought me to question my beliefs as a Native Person in the present day. I have done much reflection and study on this subject and incorporate my own findings, beliefs, and meditations into the art I make today. This, however, is not a static issue. Oppression continues today in many forms and in many places. In "Bloodline" I address the issue of blood quantum and how it is used to define Indian rights. When you view the digital images you see the information I am speaking about.