Collection 1970s–Present

Kay WalkingStick. You’re an Indian? 1995 266

Lithograph, composition: 20 × 40" (50.8 × 101.6 cm); sheet: 30 × 48" (76.2 × 121.9 cm). Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Drawing and Print Associates

Artist, Kay WalkingStick: My name is Kay WalkingStick, and in Cherokee that’s Adolanvsdi.

I was making work about some of the funny things that people have said to me, and some of them were really quite annoying and rude. People would say, “You live in a house? I thought all Indians lived in tepees.” Things like that. I went in to see a dealer and I said something about my work, and he said, “You're an Indian? I thought you were a Jewish girl from Queens who changed your name!” So I made a print of it.

Each part of the drawing has some specific meaning. The crosses are my two kids. The rainbow represents not only rain, but blessing. And, of course, the corn is the staple of Native Americans, but it’s also a great gift to the world. And there I am all dressed up in my little red outfit and my cowboy hat. That look is tolerance. “Enough nonsense. I'm sick of laughing at your stupid jokes.”

Obviously, I wanted to make strong art, but I wanted to educate people a little bit, too. I would like to give people something to think about in relationship to native people on the planet.