The Tsuut’ina First Nation is calling on the city to remove the latest piece of artwork that appears to be drawing more controversy these days than praise.
“Tsuut’ina believes that attempting to reflect First Nation art or symbolism in the absence of collaboration with local First Nation artists and elders is not reflective of other recent steps by Calgary City Hall to respect Treaty 7 Nations,” said spokesperson Kevin Littlelight, who called the piece an atrocity.
“These steps have included progress on executing on the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the raising of Treaty 7’s flag at City Hall.”
Littlelight told 660 NEWS the piece was offensive and failed to take in the appropriate consultation that should have been done when emulating burial scaffolding.
“It’s just too similar,” he said. “Whoever he consulted, maybe for him that was enough, but it definitely was not enough for the beauty of the culture of Blackfoot people.”
“They’ve taken a huge step backwards from the TRC, the implications of that and applying that to how we do business now, we’ve fallen backwards and that’s funny for Calgary because Calgary is so progressive,” said Littlelight.
He sees it as a huge opportunity for the city to assess where has it failed and added the Tsuut’ina will supply elders and cultural experts to help them in the next step moving forward.
“There’s great artists that are Albertans, aboriginal artists that are Albertans, southern Albertans, cowboys, Indians, that should be our focus and we should be pushing that,” he explained. “Nobody comes to Calgary to look at New York art.”
“What do you do when your neighbours make a mistake, you don’t stand around and criticize them, you help them,” he said.
“You have to have a little empathy for the artist, I can’t really speak for him but it is a strike out. What do you do? You have to rebuild and if I was the artist I would reach out to the art community of Treaty 7 and redo things.”
“Diego Rivera was a great artist, he had to redo art all the time, it’s no different here.”