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Dawes Commission Interpreters

$1,200.00

Johnnie Diacon’s dark view of the infamous Dawes Commission won third place at the 2017 Southeastern Art Show and Market. The Dawes Commission was convened in 1893 to convince the Five Civilized Tribes to cede tribal title of Indian land and permit the dividing of tribal land into individual allotments. Johnnie described this piece as follows: “This painting represents the Native men who were fluent in their tribal languages and were engaged by the Dawes Commission to act as interpreters during the allotment period in Oklahoma in the late 1800s. I chose to hide the eyes of these men in the shadows of their hats as to enhance the mystery and to give rise to the question of the possible intentions of these men that the Native people may have experienced when approached by them and the non-native field commissioners during the allotment process. I leave the decision of the intentions of these men to the viewer. Are they there to help their people understand their inevitable future and make the process easier or are these men accomplices to a crime?” Johnnie was educated at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he studied the traditional, flat style of Indian painting under master artist Ruthe Blalock Jones. Johnnie also studied the contemporary style of Indian art at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Bacone College, among others.

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