THE UNFOLDING JOURNEY is a new blog written in association with Legacy Genealogy.

This blog is a blend of disciplines that reveal the rich texture of culture and history that surrounded your ancestors' lives, as well as your own. We will take you beyond just the names, dates, and places to give you the "back story" for the reasons your ancestors thought what they thought and did what they did. We invite you to also visit us at the Legacy Genealogy facebook page at http://facebook.com/legacygenealogy

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana
(#13 of 52)

The Battle of Perryville
“It was near 2 o’clock A.M. when I lay down, and when I awoke, the morning sun was peering through the branches. On looking up I discovered that the tree under which I slept so soundly was interwoven with grape vines, and that the lower branches were covered with rich clusters. Hastily rolling my blanket, I secured a number of the bunches and then set out for the regiment. Along the route I partook of a breakfast of crackers and grapes. Fortunately, we did not have to march until noon, and that gave time to rest, and for those who were still behind to overtake their companies.

“Before starting, Col. Hines called the company commanders together and told them that, when we left, there would be nine miles to water; and that to get it we should have to fight, as the enemy occupied the ground at that time. Canteens were all filled, and at noon we were all under way, fully impressed with the conviction that we were now about to fight “for water.”

 “We soon came out into the main road leading to Perryville; and it required but a glance to convince us that there was business ahead. Small parties of mounted men were galloping up and down the road; orderlies were dashing to and fro; and the very air seemed to say the long stillness was about to be broken by the noise of battle. We were still nearly seven miles from the field. A burning sun shone upon us, and the columns of moving men were covered with clouds of dust. But there was no rest; mile was added to mile, and still no halt. At last we neared the field, and away on the left we could hear the occasional pattering of carbines.
“Our hurried walk changed to a quicker pace; and at the end of a seven-mile heat we ascended a hill, from where we could see our lines of battle. My pen fails when I attempt to describe the march of the last seven miles. In many places the road was filled with wagons and ambulances, which made the march still more fatiguing. The long looked for moment arrived, and the halt was sounded. Covered with dust and dripping with sweat, the men sunk upon the ground. Almost choked with dust, I turned my canteen for a drink, and took one swallow; but it tasted almost boiling hot, I had carried it so far in the burning sun.

“Upon reaching the line of battle, which was formed across the road, we filed to the left and marched some distance where we found a gap in our lines. We immediately went into line of battle, and there was still a vacancy of half a mile between Wagner’s brigade and the troops on our left. Just as we got into position the enemy were discovered by our skirmishers moving forward to penetrate the open space and overpower the troops on our left. Col. Wagner was ordered to take his brigade and battery, move with all possible haste, and occupy the hill which the enemy was then attempting to gain, and hold it.

“Again we were in motion - now no longer a march, nor double-quick - an actual race - to see which should first reach the hill. Keeping all but the line of skirmishers behind the ridge that rose between us and the advancing column of the enemy, we rushed forward to seize the position. Now the excitement of the field came on, without which we could not have been successful in the movement we were taking. It was a time of fearful suspense. One thing only could save us from a hard fight, and that was our success in gaining the position; for if the enemy gained it first, they could ruin our lines, unless driven from it.

“For some moments it was doubtful which would first reach the hill; but the gunners of Cox’s battery were on the ground, and tearing away a fence, two of their parrot guns were quickly in position, and just as the enemy were seen ascending a ridge - the last one between them and the hill - the guns opened fire, sending into their ranks such a storm of shell that they gave up the project, and retired behind the ridge. While Cox was getting his guns ready, the infantry were formed in line of battle, and every preparation made to repel a charge. It was very evident that our success in first reaching the hill was to them a sore disappointment, and the murderous fire from Cox’s battery was a sufficient  warning to them that we had no intention of yielding it to them as long as we had men to defend it.
“The enemy opened on us with a battery, firing a few rounds of shell, but they were soon silenced when all the guns of our battery were got into position. Our line moved forward just before dark, and occupied the ridge which had been held by the rebels, they having withdrawn beyond the reach of our guns. Here we found the knap-sacks of the 24th Mississippi, which had been thrown aside preparatory to making a charge on the hill. We learned from prisoners that the fire from Cox’s artillery made considerable havoc in their ranks.
“Just before dark the hard fighting commenced in front of Mc Cook’s Corps, and from our position we could see the fire from both our own and the rebel artillery. In the dreadful struggle which took place at dusk we could plainly hear the rebels yell, though no movement was made in our front, where our entire corps was in line of battle. Everyone expected a hard battle on the next day, and the importance of the enemy’s movement on our left flank was then unknown to us. That night the 57th stood picket in front of our position, the line of the regiment being in a corn field and woods which joined each other at that point. After dark, details were sent to the rear to make coffee for the men at the front. Water was procured from a pool which lay in the rear of the last position we had taken.
“Morning dawned, Thursday, October 9th, but there was no battle. We could see the enemy taking their artillery from the field and one of our guns was used to shell them; but the brigade was soon after moved to the right and rear where, as Col. Wagner supposed, “we would be out of danger.” About 8 o’clock P.M., we were ordered forward, and moved down the road leading toward Perryville, in columns of companies, until we had reached the suburbs of the village when we marched in by file and took possession of the place. Plenty of dead rebels lay scattered around, not far from where we halted; and some of the boys found live ones on the field, who were asleep when their army retreated, and were not aroused by their own comrades.”

(Kentucky, October 8-9, 1862)

Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Everyone knows about the thirteen original states, but few are aware of what would have been our fourteenth state if not for unusual circumstances. After the end of the Revolutionary War, all of the states were in serious financial debt. North Carolina was almost in collapse for lack of funds; it owed significant revenue to the Federal government to cover war expenses.
At that time, North Carolina’s territory extended all the way to the Mississippi River. Some of the hardier North Carolinians had ventured across the Appalachian Mountains to settle in the state’s western wilderness. But they were met by hostile Cherokee’s and roving bands of outlaws. The settlers demanded that the North Carolina government protect them from these dangers. Since the state was broke, owed money to the Federal government, and considered the settlers no better than outlaws themselves, North Carolina Governor, Alexander Martin, decided to “kill two birds with one stone.” In 1784, he ceded 29 million acres in the Carolina western wilderness to the Continental Congress. The state’s debt would be satisfied and they were no longer obligated to defend the settlers. It was a plan that most Carolinians supported, although the Congress did not immediately accept the lands.
What Governor Martin didn’t expect was the ardent independence of the settlers and the persuasiveness of their appointed leader John Sevier (who was nicknamed “Nolichucky Jack” after the Nolichucky River that flowed through the area). Sevier, who is pictured here, and his supporters voted to secede from North Carolina and formed a provisional government they called The Free Republic of Franklin, named for Benjamin Franklin.
Governor Martin of North Carolina and most of the citizens in the east couldn’t care less. But a separate republic, not part of the United States, on their border was a big concern especially when the Spanish government sought to establish relations with and loan money to the new republic of Franklin. North Carolina withdrew its cession of land to the Federal government and began to raise troops to reclaim the territory. Sevier and the Franklinites raised their own army.
The following year, representatives of Franklin arrived in New York to petition the Continental Congress for admission to the Union as the fourteenth state. North Carolina was caught by surprise. The Franklin delegation sought the help of Benjamin Franklin himself to gain support but he was in France and could do little. He also didn’t want to become involved in an internal struggle in a state where he was not a citizen. A vote was taken and seven states voted to admit it as the State of Franklin (or nominally Frankland). This was two votes short of the required two-thirds majority however.
What followed for the next two years was nothing short of chaos in Franklin. The North Carolina government did not have the power to make the Franklinites behave; and the people in Franklin didn’t have the power to expel the Carolinians. The result was that two parallel governments were set up.
Both Franklin and North Carolina sent delegates to the Continental Congress. Rival court clerks issued duplicate marriage licenses and recorded land transactions. Rival justices handed down conflicting decisions. Some people were willing to pay their taxes but didn’t know whom to pay. The Free Republic of Franklin had no currency and operated under a barter system; Governor Sevier was paid with deer hides. Things were a mess.
In 1788, in a final effort to settle the issue, John Sevier took the Franklin militia and invaded North Carolina, laying siege to the homes if influential Carolinians. The North Carolina militia was ultimately reinforced and met the Franklinites in an event known as “The Battle of the Lost State of Franklin.” It marked the beginning of the end of the Free Republic of Franklin. History records that, because men of both sides were friends and neighbors, most marksmen intentionally missed their shots and few were injured (remember these were sharpshooting mountain men).
Sevier was arrested but was only forced to sign a pledge of loyalty to the State of North Carolina. Everyone was happy that the struggle was over and that normalcy returned.
There were some unusual after effects however. North Carolina, still in deep debt, once again ceded the 29 million acres of western land to the Federal government. This new land was named the “Territory of the United States of America South of the Ohio River” (or just the “Southwest Territory”). Eight years later, this former Free Republic of Franklin was admitted to the Union as the State of Tennessee. Its first Governor was none other than John Sevier (Nolichucky Jack).
Most of us remember the Disney song about American folk hero Davy Crockett which begins, “Born on a mountain top in Tennessee . . .” Well, Davy might have been born on a mountain top but it wasn’t in Tennessee. It was in the Free Republic of Franklin at the time of his birth.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


It’s been 57 years since the first episode of The Mickey Mouse Club was aired. The program was a cultural icon for 41 years, running off and on from 1955 to 1996. It probably still airs somewhere even today. The first show premiered on ABC on October 3, 1955. The original version was seen during the late 1950’s and was followed by two reincarnations, one in the 1970’s (The New Mickey Mouse Club) and one in the 1990’s (The All-New Mickey Mouse Club or just MMC).
The Cast Members
The thing that most people think of FIRST is usually not Mickey himself but the juvenile cast members, yes the “Mouseketeers.” Some of the early ones even span across the next generation of watchers as well.
For Baby Boomers, the 1955 cast is burned in our memories. You can probably hear the Roll Call now - Tommy, Darlene, Cheryl, Bobby, Karen, Lonnie, Dennis, and of course the two little ones, Karen and Cubby. Who have we left out? Oh yes, every young boy’s fantasy, Annette. She was the one with the dark eyebrows. I was personally fond of Darlene though. The “back up” Mouseketeers included Don Grady (My Three Sons), Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman), and Paul Peterson (The Donna Reed Show).
The late 1970’s cast of the “New” Mickey Mouse Club was more ethnically diverse but also a little more forgettable. Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) stands out.
In 1989, the final incarnation, The “All New” Mickey Mouse Club, was introduced to the children of the nineties. Some of these Mouseketeers have now grown into adult celebrities. They include Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (shown here), Keri Russell, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling. Impressive.
Here is a bit of trivia that could win you a bet someday. Name some well known people who auditioned to be Mouseketeers but were rejected. The answer: Candice Bergen, Paul Williams (songwriter), Courtney Love, and Jessica Simpson.
After the kid cast members, we think of the two 1955 adult chaperones - Jimmie, with his words of wisdom and Roy, the big Mooseketeer. They are gone now, too bad. 
Remember the Special Days of the Week?
Monday: Fun With Music Day (1955); Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Day (1977); Music Day (1989).

Tuesday: Guest Star Day (1955 and 1989) and Let’s Go Day (1977).

Wednesday: Anything Can Happen Day (1955 and 1989); Surprise Day (1977).

Thursday: Circus Day (1955); Discovery Day (1977); Party Day (1989).

Friday: Talent Round-up Day (1955); Showtime Day (1977); Hall of Fame Day (1989).
Finally, there were the original serials and the Disney feature films modified for the TV show. They were loaded with the “other” Disney kids like Tim Considine, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran (Moochie), and yes, Annette herself as a budding teen. Do you remember Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys, Corky and White Shadow (starring my favorite Darlene), The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, Emil and the Detectives, Toby Tyler, and The Mystery of Rustler’s Cave?

Monday, July 23, 2012



The pursuit of women’s rights in Iran has experienced twists and turns for more than a century. There have been advancements, then regression, and now progress once again - although it’s a qualified progress. The traditional view of Iranian society is one where women are limited to the home, performing domestic tasks and raising children; and men work in the public domains like farming, government, manufacturing, and religious duties. It had been this way for hundreds of years.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s, women were first allowed to attend universities and to study abroad. Education for all women became compulsory in 1944. By mid-century, women’s rights organizations were permitted to organize. Several focused on working to give women the vote. In 1963 their efforts were rewarded when a national referendum conferred voting rights to women as well as the right to run for public office, even though conservative clerics were opposed.
This was known as the Pahlavi Era, named for the ruling Pahlavi family of whom the Shah of Iran was head. His government was a main promoter of a change in attitudes toward gender discrimination. It sought to discourage the veiling of women and encouraged mixed participation in public gatherings. Women were urged to get an education and to participate in the labor force (at all levels). Women entered the diplomatic corps, the professions, parliament, and in 1968 Farrokhrou Parsa became the first women to hold a cabinet position in the government (below right). Unfortunately, this brought the secular Pahlavi government into direct conflict with the Shia clergy who sought to defend traditional Islamic values.
In 1969, the judiciary was opened to women for the first time, and one of the five new female judges was a young woman of 22, named Shirin Ebadi. Within five years she became the first woman to preside over a legislative court. During her tenure the Family Protection Law of 1975 was enacted. It granted women equal rights in marriage and divorce, strengthened their rights in child custody disputes, increased the minimum age of marriage for women to 18, and eliminated polygamy. Other labor laws were amended to eliminate sexual discrimination in the work place and instituted equal pay for equal work. The future looked bright and Iran had a leading role in advancing women’s rights among developing countries.
But the promise of a new direction for Iranian women was shattered by the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The Shah’s close association with the United States was questioned. He was seen as a puppet of the Americans. The secular middle class, men and women, had a renewed sense of Iranian nationalism that called for an end to perceived Pahlavi domination.
Almost all the progress seen during the previous twenty years washed away. The leaders of the women’s rights movement were discredited. The Family Protection Law of 1975 was annulled as it was counter to Islam. Veiling was made obligatory. Stoning and polygamy returned. Farrokhrou Parsa was executed. The women’s movement in Iran could no longer campaign for yet unrealized rights but had to work just to keep what it had - with little success. Its organization went underground.
Shirin Ebadi, the young, brilliant, progressive judge, was removed from her position and given secretarial duties in the court where she had been presiding. Conservative clerics insisted that Islam prohibited women from being judges. Her law license was also revoked. She was unable to practice law for the next 14 years. She wrote books on the rights and struggles of Iranian women and children and lectured around the world.
She was first of all a loyal Iranian and a dedicated Muslim. But her philosophy did not preclude questioning the status quo. In her book “Iran Awakening” Shirin says, “An interpretation of Islam that is in harmony with equality and democracy is an authentic expression of faith. It is not religion that binds women, but the selective dictates of those who wish them cloistered.” By 1994, she was again permitted to practice law. Since then she has been a staunch defender in court of the rights of the oppressed in a society that shows little judicial empathy for the accused.
In 2003, Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for human rights. She is the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to have received this honor. Representatives of the Islamic Republic condemned the award as a political trick by a pro-western institution. They refused to cover or report the award ceremony. In 2009, Ebadi’s Nobel Peace Prize medal was removed from her safe deposit box in a Teheran bank by the Revolutionary Court and has never been seen again. Her bank accounts were frozen by government authorities.
Shirin continues to travel and lecture, to write books, and to defend the defenseless in Iranian courts. She is frequently at odds with the government, and threats on her life have intensified over the last few years. Even though a courageous fighter, she has been a voice for peaceful regime change in Iran.
But there is good news for the women’s rights movement in Iran today. Female legal consultants have been reintroduced into the court system, Parliament has been petitioned to reform the laws that discriminate against women, court decreed punishments are being reviewed, and universities have initiated women’s studies courses. The movement is finally showing a remarkable and well organized resurgence.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana
(#12 of 52)
The Army of the Ohio Advances to Meet
Braxton Bragg’s Army at Perryville.
“Army of the Ohio commenced the second movement southward, from Louisville, on the 1st of October, 1862. Long columns of troops could be seen marching out on the various roads leading south. Having but recently drawn a complete outfit of clothing, each soldier was carrying a heavy load. Knapsacks were crowded full, with blankets on top.
“We’ll be along with you,” responded the old soldiers, as the new recruits hurried by in such high glee. Marching with old troops, who were accustomed to the labors of the service, it was utterly impossible for the recruits to keep up, and carry such loads in the heat and dust.
“In the vicinity of Mt. Washington, there was a small party of rebel cavalry posted to watch our movements; but these were quickly driven out by our own cavalry. The enemy contested the passage of Salt River by a sharp skirmish, and succeeded in destroying the bridge. Our troops pursued them, and then went into camp.
“On Saturday the 4th, several miles north of Bardstown, it was evident that the rebels had no intention of making a stand at the town. They had, however, withdrawn to a place where the roads intersected, and then, as usual, showed fight with a small force of cavalry. The 3rd Ohio Cavalry immediately charged upon them. The enemy succeeded in drawing them into an ambush, and quite a number were captured. Our division was speedily formed in line of battle and hurried forward; but from the woods the rebels could see our advancing lines, and immediately withdrew. The enemy was now moving in the direction of Harrodsburg, with the intent of forming a junction with Gen. Kirby Smith. Instead of seeing the “oppressed people” of Kentucky springing to arms in aid of the cause of rebellion, a large army of northern boys, fresh from the fields, work-shops, schools, and pulpits, confronted them at every point.

“Since leaving Louisville, we had received full rations of crackers, coffee, sugar, and meat. In making a three days’ issue, we would usually receive two days’ ration of bacon and one of fresh beef. Cattle were driven along in the rear of the troops, and butchered at our camping places.

“Tuesday the 7th, we started in the direction of Perryville. All the small streams had long since gone dry. Water, suitable to drink, was almost impossible to find. Men were sent out from the road with canteens, while their comrades carried their guns and blankets. They would find an occasional spring or well. Now for the first time, I left the ranks without permission. But if there is water in the country it must be found. I soon reached a battery. The horses are sleeping on their feet, the drivers in their saddles, and the gunners by their pieces. Half a mile up the road I came to a log-house by the side of the road, near where a small stream has once been. In answer to my inquiry “Where will I find water?” I am told, “We have none; haul water for our own use three miles, and have given all away that was in the barrel.” I could not buy even a drop of milk, coffee, or anything that would serve to quench my thirst. At last the old man tells me that one mile from there, in the bed of the creek, I will find a pool that has not gone dry. Cheered with this intelligence, I set out according to his directions. Upon reaching the spot, I found a pool of stagnant water, and brushing away the thick scum of green, I was rewarded by the sight of water! After filling my canteen with the “Delightful beverage” from the creek bottom, I retraced my steps to the road.
“At every halt of any length, the weary men would throw themselves down at the roadside or in fence corners and in a moment were wrapped in slumber. But when the bugle sounds “forward,” and with no small amount of waking, rousing, and clamor, the “machine” is once more in motion.

(Kentucky, October, 1862)

Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


If you grew up in the sixties or even listened to the radio back then, you know the “Motown Sound.” It was much more than catchy, well arranged three minute songs; more than the fusion of gospel, soul, and pop. It actually had a cultural impact on America. The Motown sound had primary responsibility for the racial integration of popular music by its stunning crossover successes.
The Motown story begins in 1960, when a lightly regarded song writer, Berry Gordy Jr. (pictured here), borrowed $800 from his family to start a record company. While his composing skills were ordinary, his entrepreneurial abilities were unsurpassed.

Motown is of course a reference to “Motor City,” or the city of Detroit. Berry Gordy began his business there by buying a two story house on West Grand Boulevard. The office was on the first floor, Berry and his family lived on the second floor, and a tiny recording studio was located in a structure out in the back. Motown soon outgrew the place and expanded to seven other residences adjacent to the original house.

His first signed act was The Matadors. He changed their name to The Miracles and brought their lead man, Smokey Robinson, into the company management. Gordy’s first hit record was “Money (That’s What I Want)” which climbed to #2 on the R&B charts. Motown’s first #1 hit was “Please Mr. Postman” sung by the Marvelettes. But this was just the beginning. By the mid-sixties, Motown was a major power in both the R&B and Pop music industries. Under Berry Gordy’s guidance and force of personality, the company had 110 Top Ten hits in its first ten years.
Motown’s songwriters and performers enjoyed nationwide popularity with both black and whites audiences during a time of racial unrest and conflict. Its music found acceptance where racial harmony was still unattainable. Smokey Robinson once said, “I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. . . I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. . . I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated.”

So who were these talented musicians? The Motown sound hit the airwaves with Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, and Little Stevie Wonder. After a couple of years, they were joined by The Jackson 5, Martha and the Vandellas, The Spinners, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, and Gladys Knight & the Pips.
Gordy closely supervised the development of his young artists. They were well groomed, well dressed, and well choreographed. He taught them that they were “ambassadors” for African American music and must act professionally.

With Motown’s success, imitators began to arrive in Detroit to capture some of the magic. Berry Gordy knew that the Motown sound didn’t come from a place but from the artists who made the music. After all he had already open recording studios in New York, L.A., Chicago, and Nashville. 

By 1968, Gordy formed a television production company which created TV specials featuring his artists. The following year, he moved his operation to Los Angeles to branch out into the motion picture industry. He had some successes including “Lady Sings The Blues,” “Mahogany,” “The Wiz,’ and others. In 2006 the film “Dream Girls” (not a Gordy production), based on the Broadway production of the same name, was a veiled history of Motown Records. In spite of developing new artists during the 1980’s like Lionel Richie, Rick James, and De Barge, company sales began a decline. Berry Gordy sold Motown to MCA Records in 1988. He was a very rich man.
Today, you can visit the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. It’s known as “Hitsville U.S.A.” and is located in the original Motown office/studio on West Grand Boulevard. It will bring back memories.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


This is the story of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, the internationally renowned Native American artist and activist.
The chilly January winds blew across Montana, heralding the coming Second World War, when this little girl was born at the Jesuit Mission on the Salish Flathead Reservation. She was not pure Flathead but Cree, Shoshone, and French as well. When Jaune was two years old, she and her sister were abandoned by their mother. The girls lived with their father, an illiterate horse trader, who moved the little family around the northwest U.S. Visits to relatives on the Montana reservation were rare because their father didn’t have the money to take them. They lived from time to time in foster homes.
Her name, Jaune, is pronounced like “john;” and she adopted her family’s surname “Ouick-to-See.” At eight years old, she toiled in the fields with other migrant workers, harvesting crops belonging to Japanese farmers recently released from government internment. There were no toys, so Jaune and her sister would draw pictures in the dirt with a stick.
She was 36 by the time she completed her B.A. in Art, and 40 when receiving her Master of Fine Arts degree. It’s funny because Jaune had been earning a living as an artist for several years. She hoped to teach art on a reservation but there were few opportunities. She continued to be a mentor to young native artists, especially to the girls who had always been told that art was something beyond their ability.
Jaune describes her own style as “abstract expressionism,” being both symbolic and emotional. It is sometimes representational, sometimes abstract; her inspirations were Picasso, Klee, Warhol, and Rauschenberg as well as traditional Native American art. She frequently incorporates images taken from ancient native petroglyphs (stone carvings) into her paintings. Her choice of mediums is not limited either. Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is at home with drawings, oil paintings, decoupage, or lithographs.
Her art is a fusion of her own cultural experiences and values, and contemporary Euro-American tradition. It is filled with political subject matter. There is sarcasm, even rage, in her work but it is tempered by popular imagery, parody, and humor. It can be thought provoking and raises questions to dispel the myths about Native Americans.
She began to establish herself as an artist in the mid-1970’s with some successes in the business of art. Now Jaune Quick-to-See Smith was able to put together her talent (art) and her passion (activism).
She had always been inspired by the words of Chief Seattle, a prominent mid-nineteenth century Suquamish leader, who urged environmental responsibility and warned of the exploitation of the natural world. He also pushed for respect for Native American land rights. Jaune occasionally paints his words directly onto her artwork.
She has continually spoken against what she calls “trading post crafts,” artwork produced that just continues the stereotype of Native Americans. She believes that it is demeaning to her people. “Contemporary Native American art continues to be ignored by the mainstream of the art world. There are a number of shows travelling but they all focus on pots, blankets, and jewelry. That’s what sells. We are suspect aesthetically if we are not making traditional work,” she claims.
In 1985, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith gathered together thirty Native American female artists and travelled with them across the country exhibiting their work. The mediums included painting, sculpture, photographs, as well as bead work and weaving.
With international fame came the means to help others. Jaune followed the “pay it forward” philosophy by providing art scholarships, invitations to exhibit alongside of her, and training for young artists on how to organize themselves for participation in the art business.
Today she lives in Corrales, New Mexico, but is far from retirement. Jaune has had more than 90 solo exhibitions and lectured at 185 museums and schools (including five in China). Her art can be found in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, both in New York, The Museum of Mankind in Vienna, The Smithsonian, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and The Museum of Modern Art in Ecuador.
When asked to describe herself, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith replied, “harbinger, mediator, bridge builder.” That sums it up pretty well.
You can link to see some of her paintings at this address (courtesy of Bluffton College):