Anthropology Professor Presents at the 13th Storyteller’s Conference
Title of Presentation:
“How Can I Forgive What I Cannot Understand and How Can I Forget When They Gave Me So Much to Remember?” Curator’s Presentation of The Gary Miller Art Project: Artistic Response from a Mohawk Institute Survivor
Power is residential school Survivors telling their stories. While Patrick Wolfe contributed the notion that settler colonialism is a structure, not an event (2008), J. Kēhaulani Kauanui reminds us that Indigeneity is also enduring (2016). For generations these structures of domination effectively silenced the stories of Indian residential school Survivors about the violence they experienced as children in these institutions designed to kill the Indian in the child. This began to change only within our lifetimes, starting in the 1990s and continuing today. One of the ways Survivor stories exercise power is to directly challenge the dominant narratives and frames of residential schooling provided by governments and churches. They rip away the pretense that these institutions were in any way ethically or morally legitimate. They transgress normative settler discourse. Gary Miller’s story of surviving is different in that it is visual and it is art. But it joins with tens of thousands of other Survivor stories told through words. It is a story of genocide, and of gross violations of the kahswenta.