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December 10, 2020 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Hosted online. Register below.


Messages + Monuments: Perspectives on Collective Memories

Support provided in part by the Continuous Pathways Foundation.

The School for Advanced Research and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture are proud to partner on this important gathering as we consider the transnational implications of this topic while remaining rooted in the indigenous histories, people, and land that shape our work.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter and national calls for a critical examination of governmental power structures, monuments celebrating and memorializing Spanish conquistadors are being removed across the nation, including several in New Mexico. While many celebrate their removal, seeing their presence as a glorification of colonialism, others argue that this constitute an erasure of cultural identity.

Messages + Monuments explores these events and their context in relation to not only a local, but also a national, and international scale. Through a virtual panel discussion, this event explores the historical context of monumental sculpture and what they represent, our current tumultuous present, and what all of this could mean for the future. Community participation and discussion will be encouraged in a live Q&A.

Moderator: Dario Colmenares Millán is Program Director for the Global Transitional Justice Initiative, the International Coalition of Site of Conscience’s flagship program on transitional justice. He played a central role in the Centre for Memory, Peace, and Reconciliation in Bogotá since its creation in 2008, where he coordinated participatory truth-telling programs in arts and culture with ethnic and rural communities for nearly one decade. He has also been a consultant in transitional justice for several international donors in the implementation of the Colombian peace process, such as the Embassy of The Netherlands and the Embassy of France and has extensively participated in promoting memorialization initiatives in the Latin American region. He has also been a book editor and documentary producer with several Colombian NGOs and institutions.

Before joining the Coalition as a staff member, he actively contributed to the RESLAC Latin American network of the Coalition since 2011, and, as a specialized consultant in documentation and memorialization, he led GIJTR’s program “Supporting Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in Colombia” since 2018 focused in strengthening participatory processes with the Truth Commission and the Unit for Searching the Disappeared.


Kirsten Pai Buick is a professor of art history History and Associate Dean of Equity and Excellence for the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan. She has been the recipient of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Predoctoral Fellowship and a Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship at Williams College. In 2015, Buick was awarded the David C. Driskell Prize for African American Art. Her research and publishing focus on the visual and material culture of the first British Empire, art of the U.S., sculpture, landscape representation, African American art, and women as patrons and collectors. In 2010, her book Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject was published by Duke University Press. Her second book, In Authenticity: “Kara Walker” and the Eidetics of Racism, is in progress.

Jason Garcia (Okuu Pin) does what great artists have been doing since the beginning of time: he carefully examines and interprets life around him and then shares those uniquely personal observations with the rest of the world. In his finished work—most often clay tiles that are created in the traditional Pueblo way with hand-gathered clay, native clay slips and outdoor firings — he transforms materials closely connected to the earth into a visually rich mix of Pueblo history and culture, comic book super heroes, video game characters, religious icons and all things pop culture. The son of well-known Santa Clara Pueblo potters John and Gloria Garcia (known as Golden Rod), and the great grandson of the equally revered Santa Clara potter Severa Tafoya, Garcia notes he has been an artist all his life.

Garcia has participated in several significant exhibitions including Comic Art Indigene at both the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC and Native Pop! at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Garcia has also received numerous awards and honors including a Ronald N. and Susan Dubin Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research, and both the coveted Best of Classification and Artist’s Choice awards at the world-famous Santa Fe Indian Market. Important museums have purchased his work for their collections, as well, including the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Jean M. O’Brien (citizen, White Earth Ojibwe Nation) is Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Northrop Professor at the University of Minnesota. She is one of six co-founders and is past president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and inaugural co-editor (with Robert Warrior) of the association’s journal, Native American and Indigenous Studies. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, O’Brien is the author or co-author of (with Lisa Blee) Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit; Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England; and Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790. Her co-edited volumes are Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies; Why You Can’t Teach U.S. History without American Indians; and Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles, and Indigenous Rights in the United States: A Sourcebook.