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Jean Lamarr, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1511

Research Paper

Introduction

Different cultures have different ways of fostering creativity and imagination. However, since people might be impacted by values and norms from different cultures, artists in society use art to encourage remembrance, societal advances, innovation, and scientific discoveries. This means that if society needs to emphasize a specific norm, artists are much more influential in helping community members acknowledge the changes. In California, the minority populations are underrepresented. This means that artists within the communities must design art that helps the communities stay strong and together in reserving their cultural beliefs and values. This research paper deliberates how Jean LaMarr, an associate of the Susanville Indian Rancheria, relates with art in airing the principal issue that Native Americans face in the state.

The Issue

Most schools in California use Native Americans as mascots. This incites cultural stereotypes that contribute to destroying people’s self-esteem. According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), 1,916 learning institutions still use Native Americans as mascots in America (Endres 651). This means that learning institutions are still generalizing Native Americans as inferiors whose roles are supporting them rather than participating in schooling activities like sports. This means that members of Native Americans all over the country have trouble making informed decisions and lack self-control. This is translated in their early life throughout education to their careers. Society gives no room for the community to reserve and practices their traditions.

Early Life

In her early life, LaMarr experienced challenges associated with racism. For example, her father struggled to secure employment from large organizations that people from the majority community owned. In turn, her father never complained and wanted his children to pursue more practical occupations. Since LaMarr and her family never enjoyed public resources and had difficulty accessing health care services, she began creating murals. Her first mural was known as “Sir Francis Drake,” which Christianized the Indians (Rosenthal 412). This mural was vital to her since it encouraged her that in the future, she would create an excellent reputation irrespective of the troubles that her family was experiencing.

From this art, Drake only returned with one out of the five ships. This signifies that despite LaMarr being raised in a disadvantaged community, she will emerge victorious by fighting to protect Native Americans’ rights in the state and country. Since she discovered her passion for drawing at a younger age, she opted to use art to address issues like cultural stereotypes and the representation of Native Americans in California. This means that using paintings and drawings is effective for the community since it has helped improve communication skills and enhanced creativity (artincontext 1). This means that Native Americans could express themselves when interacting with people from other cultures in explaining their issues. Additionally, more artists from the Native American community, like Malaquias Montoya, were inspired to address issues and represent their cultural beliefs and values through painting or drawings.

Education

At school, LaMarr faced racism from her teachers. This is because of the institutional racism that exists in the entire state. This means that California’s laws and regulations support racism against minority populations. In order to overcome the discrimination that she and her friends faced in school, she drew and painted pictures but had to hide from her father. After joining the University of California, Berkeley, to pursue arts, the institution’s instructors did not support her representational art (Abbott 99). This means that LaMarr used art to educate and inform her followers and community members about the discrimination and stereotypes she underwent in different life stages, more so in the university.

However, despite the stereotypes and lack of support from university instructors, LaMarr learned different art forms like videos, assemblages, and installation work. This means that her community greatly appreciated her artistic development, which created an opportunity for her to be an activist in politics. After joining and supporting the Occupation of Alcatraz movement, she added more elements to her artwork. This was mainly motivated by her desire to reduce and prevent discrimination against the Native Americans in the state, as Abbott claims (98). The addition of color, shape, and texture in her artwork impacted people’s moods by taking their consideration closer to the cultural stereotypes they faced as Native Americans in the state. Sequentially, this created responsiveness, obliging Native Americans in the state to fight for their rights through movements like the Occupation of Alcatraz.

Career

When starting her career life, LaMarr faced unlimited challenges since the majority of learning institutions preferred men due to their masculine and authoritative nature. However, since LaMarr had furthered her education, she secured teaching jobs in institutions like the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Institute of American Indian Arts (Abbott 101). While at it, LaMarr faced segregation from the male workers. However, she was determined to spread awareness and consciousness about the stereotypes that limited Native Americans from accessing public resources in California. Her prints attracted the media’s attention when she claimed, “I believe art is for everyone… because it is a way of gathering minds, raising consciousness about what is happening with the Earth, Indian rights, and the Indian woman” (Endres 687). This statement indicates that LaMarr was ready and willing to fight for the rights of Native Americans living in California and the United States.

The coloring, shape, and texture of LaMarr’s prints made people acknowledge the impact of art by purchasing the murals and placing them in their homes. In a way, this created equity in the state since, traditionally, people who would access such arts were classified as the wealthy since they would easily access museums. In addition, the support LaMarr has given tribal communities in California countered the long-standing erasure of indigenous presence. Particularly, women from the Native American community benefited from fairness and inclusion in major celebrations and the documentation of their history and survival. As a result of her achievements, Anderson discusses that LaMarr was recognized with an honorary membership to the California Society of Printmakers (37). This illustrates that despite the challenges she encountered in society, she fulfilled the purpose of the “Sir Francis Drake” mural.

After receiving the honorary membership recognition, LaMarr founded a workshop: the Native American Graphic Workshop (Martin 135). This made her artwork more magnificent than it was. This means that she was better positioned to improve her drawings which fostered mastery. For instance, the image “I Heard the Song of My Grandmother” involved more colors and a rough texture (Martin 133). This means that if people came across the image, they would easily connect with it by touching and through visuals. As years went by, her artwork became unique and fresh in addressing issues that the Native American community in California faces daily. Today, her artwork significantly strengthens the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This means Native Americans in the state benefit from equal protection of the law, although unsatisfactorily.

Personal Life

LaMarr’s marriage with DeeRoy Spencer was a blessing to their child. This means that the couples had similar cultural values and norms, which made it easier for the child to adopt and practice. Her husband was a veteran of the Vietnam War from Navajo. This means that Spencer was a Native American of Southwestern America (Anderson 46). After his death, LaMarr faced the challenge of arranging her husband’s burial. She struggled to convince the Navajo Nation that her husband was to be buried in their Susanville community. Instead, the Navajo Nation ruled that Spencer was to be buried in Arizona. This indicates that women among Native Americans were not considered in decision-making even if the decisions made affected their lives directly. Such prohibitions (lack of women representations among the Native American people) are what LaMarr has been trying to address through art.

Conclusion

LaMarr’s life encounters illustrate Native Americans’ difficulties in California. For example, cultural stereotypes are common in the state, excluding the community from access to public resources and health care services. However, despite LaMarr’s struggles with life, she emerges a winner for her family and the Native American community at large. This is because she used her talent (art) to address the issue that negatively affects the community. In turn, she became a community artist-activist whose artwork has been influential in protecting Native Americans in the state from any form of discrimination or stereotype.

Works Cited

Abbott, Lawrence. “Contemporary Native Art II: A Bibliography.” American Indian Quarterly (1998): 98-103.

Anderson, Kim. A recognition of being: Reconstructing Native womanhood. Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2016: 33-76.

artincontext. “Types Of Art – A Brief Exploration of The Different Kinds of Art.” Artincontext.Org, 2022, https://artincontext.org/types-of-art/#:~:text=The%20seven%20major%20forms%20of,music%2C%20cinema%2C%20and%20theater

Endres, Danielle. “American Indian permission for mascots: Resistance or complicity within rhetorical colonialism?” Rhetoric and Public Affairs 18.4 (2015): 649-690.

Martin, Joel W. “My Grandmother Was a Cherokee Princess”: representations of Indians in southern History.” Dressing in Feathers. Routledge, 2018. 129-147.

Rosenthal, Nicolas G. “Rewriting the Narrative: American Indian Artists in California, the 1960s–1980s.” The Western Historical Quarterly 49.4 (2018): 409-436.

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