Tree of Accountability
This artwork will represent our efforts to reconcile our dwelling in Native lands and bring awareness to the colonial history and ongoing injustices faced by Native people.
The Stanley Center commissioned artists Deana Dartt, PhD (Coastal Chumash) and Nancy Judd (settler) to create a special installation for our new home. This artwork will represent the Stanley Center’s effort to reconcile our dwelling in Native lands and bring public awareness to the colonial history and ongoing injustices faced by Native people in the United States.
The DNA of the Kiikaapoi, Sauk and Meskwaki, and the Očhéthi Šakówiŋd is literally in the soil on which our living building rests and, therefore, also in the trees which surround it. We hope to move toward healing the past and forging ahead in partnership with Native people—not simply through acknowledgment but through accountability.
The Tree of Accountability is made from metal salvaged from our renovations of the former Musser Library with leaves made from decommissioned library book pages. Reflective messages on the leaves will form a conversation between Native communities and settlers.
Members of the Meskwaki Nation began the conversation by responding to our question, “How can settlers be accountable to the people of the lands on which they live?” Below are some of the responses we have received from them and other Native people across the United States.
- Care for the Earth like it’s your body.
- Respect our religion and culture.
- Dismantle individualism.
- Always think about how your decisions will affect generations to come.
- Stop disrespecting Native regalia. We are not Halloween costumes.
- Learn a true American history.
- All tribes are different.
- Give back Native artifacts from museums.
- Recycle. Don’t use one-use products.
- End Native mascots. Natives are real people too!
- Value all living things.
- Honor your ancestors.
- Stop polluting Mother Earth.
- Educate yourself. Ask questions. Be respectful.
Whether you are Native or non-Native/settler, we hope you will add your voice to the conversation using the form below. Your response to the prompt you choose will be added to the Tree of Accountability when installed at the Stanley Center in the summer of 2023.