Next Indian Country Conversations event examines the Myth of the West
Missoula Art Museum
Come to the Missoula Art Museum for a dynamic conversation about Montana’s — and the West’s — complex and challenging identity. In the next installment of the Indian Country Conversations (ICC) series, hear from University of Montana professor Debra Magpie Earling (Bitterroot Salish) and Montana author Russell Rowland. Based on artist Gordon McConnell’s exhibition When the West Was Won, this important conversation will focus on examining the challenging realities of how the West came to be “settled”.
“McConnell's paintings are a jumping off point to inform a discussion about the complicated inheritance of the West — the active colonization and decimation of Indigenous populations, the perpetuation of stereotypes, the hyper-masculinity, and violence. McConnell says, 'There are many Wests and each person who lives here or visits has a different relationship to it. The “conquest” of the West is one of our central national myths. In a large part, it defines what the United States is, and who we are as a people,’” said Missoula Art Museum senior curator Brandon Reintjes.
Earling is a fiction and Native American Studies professor and author of the critically acclaimed novel “Perma Red.” Rowland will share research from his book “Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey,” which draws on interviews he collected over a two-year period as he traveled the Montana to capture the identity of the state.
The Indian Country Conversations series provides necessary education and cultural exchange to bolster cultural understanding and break down stereotypes — through visual art — of Indigenous people who live on and off the nearby reservations surrounding Missoula and across the West. After hosting four profound Indian Country Conversations programs in 2019, the Missoula Art Museum is dedicated to continuing this series as a forum to engage the public in conversations related to exhibitions in the Lynda M. Frost Contemporary American Indian Gallery. The Missoula Art Museum hopes that through the Indian Country Conversations series audiences will connect directly to the artists and artworks and gain a deeper insight into the issues they address. Support for the Indian Country Conversations series is provided by the Cultural Vision Fund and the Llewellyn Foundation.
INDIAN COUNTRY CONVERSATIONS: Deconstructing the Myth of the West
Saturday, February 22 // 1–2 PM
About Missoula Art Museum: Founded in 1975 and accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1987, the Missoula Art Museum is emerging as the leading contemporary art museum in the Intermountain West. The Missoula Art Museum is situated on the traditional, ancestral territories of the Séliš (Salish or “Flathead”) and Ql̓ispé (upper Kalispel or Pend d’Oreille) peoples. The Missoula Art Museum is committed to respecting the Indigenous stewards of the land it occupies. Their rich cultures are fundamental to artistic life in Montana and to the work of Missoula Art Museum. The Missoula Art Museum is a fully accessible, free public museum boasting eight exhibition spaces, a library, and education center in the heart of Missoula’s historic downtown.