I often wonder why I was chosen through all the generations to create Native American Art. The wonderful opportunity to share the stories I once heard. I feel it’s up to me to continue my ancestor’s special lives… One story that stands out in my mind.
My grandmother (Bessie) had an identical twin sister (Beatrice). When they lived in Bluff, Utah, they watched the Paiutes, and Navaho Indians swim across the river to buy food at the store. Then they would put it on their heads and swim back across. They saw a burro go down in quicksand and drown.
They remembered four Indians in particular. Their names were Posey, Scotty, Joe Bush and Lousy Joe. Posey and Scotty were brothers.
They knew Posey when he was about 20 years old. He was a very mean Indian and Hettie (Mammy their mother) kept a gun handy and knew how to use it.
The Cavalry came after these four Indians and the whole tribe became mixed up in the fight. Many squaws and children were killed.
As the twins aged, they would often talk about Posey and his friends. Posey often visited the store at Bluff, as did other Indians. Sometimes he would stop at farms and demand biscuits or other things and threaten the settlers if refused. One time Posey stopped at a home and demanded bread. A woman Jane was hoeing her garden and said, “Wait until I finish hoeing this row.” Posey drew his gun and shouted, “No wait, now” Jane continued hoeing and Posey called her bad names and swore at her. Jane quickly turned around and hit Posey over the head with her hoe. Posey fell to the ground stunned. Jane then went on hoeing. In a few minutes Posey got to his feet, let out a blood-curdling yell and ran for his horse with Jane’s dog right behind him. Posey left some of his buckskin pants in the dog’s mouth.
Years later Posey returned and said to Jane, “Squaw, me no mad.“ Jane said to Posey,“Me no mad.“ Posey rubbed his stomach and said, “Me heap hungry.“ So Jane cooked for Posey while he chopped some wood for her.
Posey married a Piute girl, Too-Rah, who was a good influence on him. But after her accidental shooting death his bitterness returned and no one was ever certain of their safety when he and those who joined his band were around. In 1923, Posey interrupted the trail of a young Paiute Indian which was going on in Blanding, Utah. He shot point blank at the Sheriff, Bill Oliver and missed. Posey and his followers fled from town and vanished in canyons and gulches. Soldiers quickly came and there was a war with Posey’s little band. The action caused Posey’s death and ended his “on again, off again“ battle that he had waged for 43 years against the white man.
I feel it’s up to me to continue my ancestor’s special lives through my art. I watch my family keep their journals of their lives, so this New Year I thought I’d better do the same.
My art journal can be a place to explore, experience different things, dream, and have visual inspirations. Nobody cares about what paint or pens I use or how perfect the design is. My art journal will be intentionally not perfect.They are intentionally personal and they are used to grow as a creative being.