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Quinton Maldonado -
Oyate Hotanin Project

"They Can't Take Away Our Dreams"

Ledger Drawings + Video

Project Statement

This project is both a music video and an exhibit of 8 drawings. The project is inspired by the poem, "They Can't Take Away Our Dreams", by Strong Buffalo.

There is an invisible thread that connects Wounded Knee Massacre, assassination of Sitting Bull, the Dakota War of 1862, the execution hanging of the 38+2, Fort Snelling encampment, Federal boarding schools, reservation life, the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier with the present day inhumanity of mass incarceration of Native people. Long term imprisonment is a new phase of historical trauma, breaking up our families and eroding relationships and hope in our community, leading to a cycle of drinking, drugs and violence for too many. We still have hope and work to do. The video is an optimistic voice to end over incarceration of all people. We want to make the forces behind mass incarceration visible and therefore, un­tolerable and lift the idea of restorative justice and healing.

Artist Bio - Strong Buffalo, Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota: Poem  

Strong Buffalo is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, and a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has been writing poetry before there was anything called Native poetry, starting last century. His words, translated in more than 17 languages, 3 published books, 8 CD’s, along with lectures and performances contribute to a world where we use creativity and options other than war, racism, classism, and exploitation to solve the problems that we all share, by just being alive…


Artist Bio - Quinton Maldonado, Oglala Lakota, Pine Ridge, SD: Ledger Style Drawings

When we began to visualize a video as a response to mass incarceration, the question came up about how to depict the incidents of trauma in our history, wanting to treat them with respect and authenticity. We found the answer in the ledger drawings of Quinton Maldonado, Oglala Lakota. Quinton hones a uniquely contemporary ledger drawing. The beauty of his work and the history of leader drawings as an art form born in the captivity of Native people made his work a good fit for this video project. He completed 7 drawings for this project.

See Quinton Maldonado's poignant drawings and Oyate Hotanin's important video at:
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