Artist Gregg Deal, Pyramid Lake Paite, has become one of the leading provocateurs in the fight to expose America's stereotyping and racism toward Natives. His "Last American Indian on Earth" performances have sparked discussion on the topic, and he's becoming a spokesman in the media with appearances on radio talk shows, W. Kamau Bell's Totally Biased and The Daily Show (upcoming).
On September 27, Deal will undertake his most ambitious performance piece yet, submitting to "a variety of abuses -- mental, verbal and even physical -- routinely endured by Indigenous people." It's called "Redskin," for obvious reasons, and will last for eight hours. Deal is based in Washington, DC, which gives him an intimate knowledge of the debate over the name of the city's NFL team.
Deal is seeking funding for the performance through an IndieGoGo campaign, and has 26% of his target number. Here's a video the artist created to explain his venture:
The IndieGoGo campaign page includes many more details about the project, but we'll zoom in on one particularly effective passage, where Deal outlines a few elements:
At least 3 non-Indian participants will work as antagonists for this piece, subjecting Deal to the aforementioned abuse. Here are a few scenarios:
Red Face: Non-Indians dressed with “Indian war paint” and “fake headdress” try to convince Deal their actions honor him.
"You’re just not Indian enough": Antagonists will evaluate Deal's identity, speaking critically about his conformity to stereotype (e.g., "you don’t look Indian to me," explaining the ways they perceive his identity as a Native person).
Redskins: Singing the team song “Hail To The Redskins”, preaching about honor, listing off other arguments and "Facts."
Here's a longer video Deal recently published in which he discusses his identity and his art in detail: