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Killing the Black Snake

This work emerged to honor the courage of the tribal people of Standing Rock and many others from all around the world to protect the sacred water from the Black Snake, a pipeline carrying crude oil. I stand in solidarity with these people. I am humbled by their courage and persistence. In addition, I added a tribute to the Red Dress memorial honoring the lost and murdered First Nations and Native American women started by Jaime Black a first nations artist.


As with all of my paintings and artwork, this one took me on a long journey of discovery of things that are and things that will be. I learned most of what is inside of me, in my spirit. I am particularly grateful to the spirits that guided me on this journey and my non-human relatives who constantly teach me about what is important. I learned to channel my anger away from violent impulses away from a battle that is not mine to fight to my calling as an artist to bring awareness and to evoke in this work outrage at the injustice. Many thanks to my teachers for this discovery.


Regarding the artwork I intentionally used the following elements, there are others I discover each time I spend time studying the images:

  • · The tipi is a symbol for home, as in our mother the earth and our home on Turtle Island.

  • · The stars and stripes symbolize both the great nation in which we live (not the government) and to honor the many who have given some or all to defend our greater values.

  • · The lightning symbolizes the power of mother earth and of the natural things.

  • · The eagle represents an agent of justice; a holy warrior, come to kill the black snake.

  • · The red on the talons is the blood shed by the protectors and ancestors: it is sacred

  • · The black snake represents greed which is a root of evil and the pipeline.

  • · The face is a protector sent from the spirit world to defend mother earth and her children; all of us not just human beings.

  • · The smoke symbolizes the power of prayer.

  • · The sun is red symbolizing the blood of those oppressed and murdered by the greedy.

  • · The red dresses honor the lost and murdered indigenous women.

  • · The grass reflects life, the new life that comes each spring on turtle island.

  • · The birch trees reflect the gifts of mother earth, shelter, tools and transportation: a thank you for these gifts.


My prayers for all my relatives are for peace, prosperity and serenity: have faith and hold fast.

My words to the greedy takers…beware, the storm’s coming


Steve



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