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Going 'Native': Urban Iconography and the Uses (and Abuses) of the Indigenous and Settler Past
Coll Thrush, historian and author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place (University of Washington Press), will give a free waterfront-related lecture on Wednesday, December 4 at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Thrush will be introduced by Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribal Council. The lecture, entitled "Going 'Native': Urban Iconography and the Uses (and Abuses) of the Indigenous and Settler Past,” is presented by the Office of Arts & Culture in recognition of the large-scale project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with 26 acres of new public space, streets, parks, buildings and artworks, and is the first in a series of waterfront-related lectures.
Every North American city is built on Indigenous land, but few advertise this history like Seattle. This talk will discuss the ways in which cities have used their history of Native-settler relations and "Indian" images like totem poles to make sense of (and sell) themselves. Drawing on stories from Seattle, Vancouver, and London, including issues raised by the use of First Nations icons in the Vancouver Olympics of 2010, Thrush will challenge attendees to think about how we might move forward in ethical, factual ways that address the ongoing presence of both Indigenous people and colonialism on the land that we all call home.
In addition to Native Seattle, Thrush is also the co-editor of Phantom Pasts, Indigenous Presence: Native American Ghosts and Hauntings in North American History and Culture (University of Nebraska Press). He is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London and an Eccles Fellow in North American Studies at the British Library, working on Indigenous London, a history of that city through the experiences of indigenous persons from the British Empire’s territories. He is an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia.
This lecture is presented by the Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Department of Transportation as part of the Waterfront Seattle art plan. The design and construction of the new waterfront will be accompanied by talks, conferences, temporary projects and residencies addressing the history, ecology, economies, and wider contexts of the Seattle Waterfront.