Little House Upon a Foundation of Others’ Homelands

Little House Upon a Foundation of Others’ Homelands; Screenprint on repurposed fabric, weaving, and freehand machine embroidery; 44″x24″; 2023

Our house sits upon the homelands of Indigenous nations. This piece acknowledges six such nations—via stripes of colors from their contemporary flags and/or seals—who occupied what is today Cape Girardeau (source: Thousands of other displaced Native people also passed through this area and countless were lost on the forced march now known as the Trail of Tears. The weaving sits among strata of recently sullied soil, juxtaposing the comparative harmony of Native practices with the relative destruction of contemporary consumerism, and showing the nations’ ancient and lasting claim to the land.

Our house was built in 1926, likely with little thought of the Indigenous societies who were forced from their land to make way for the city. Instead the legacy of these and other nations are shoddily recognized via local sports mascots and in city park names—our backyard spills out into Capaha Park, for example. We attempt in our small way to pay a more thoughtful tribute by striving for a more reciprocal relationship with the land through planting native wildflowers and sharing the bounty of our garden with all the wildlife who people our neighborhood, forbidding pesticides and gas powered tools on the little plot we’re privileged to foster.