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Oklahome: Bury the Hatchet Panel Discussion

Mar 19, 2021

Zoom conversation with artist John Hitchcock, Native scholars Dustin Tahmahkera, T. Christopher Aplin, and Nancy Marie Mithlo with introductions by Portland Art Museum curator Kathleen Ash-Milby.

The panel discusses art, music, and Oklahoma and how these influences are represented in Hitchcock’s current exhibition Bury the Hatchet at the Portland Art Museum.

John Hitchcock (Comanche) was born in 1967 in Lawton, Oklahoma. He earned his MFA in printmaking and photography at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas and received his BFA from Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma. He has been the recipient of The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grant, New York; Jerome Foundation Grant, Minnesota; the Creative Arts Award and Emily Mead Baldwin Award in the Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin. He is currently an Artist, Professor and Associate Dean of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches screenprinting, relief cut, and installation art.

Nancy Marie Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache) is a professor of Gender Studies and affiliated faculty with the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mithlo’s curatorial work has resulted in nine exhibits at the Venice Biennale. A life-long educator, Mithlo has taught at the University of New Mexico, the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Santa Fe Community College, Smith College, California Institute of the Arts, Occidental College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her 2020 book Knowing Native Arts is published by the University of Nebraska Press. 

Dr. Tahmahkera, an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, is an interdisciplinary scholar of North American indigeneities, critical media, and sound. Tahmahkera’s first book Tribal Television: Viewing Native People in Sitcoms (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) foregrounds representations of the indigenous, including Native actors, producers, and comedic subjects, in U.S., First Nations, and Canadian television and other media from the 1930s-2010s within the historical contexts of federal policy and social activism. His forthcoming book “Cinematic Comanches: Representing in the Media Borderlands” will be published this fall by the University of Nebraska Press. Cinematic Comanches is a cultural history of real and reel Comanches’ performative work onscreen and off in the production of what Tahmahkera calls “Comanchería cinema.”

Ethnomusicologist Dr. T. Christopher Aplin grew up in the dusty-ornery artistic counterculture of southwest Oklahoma. Channeling wind-whipped subsonic memory still pulsating from the late 19th-century Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation, he seems to have dedicated his life to working with others to show why out-of-the-way arts, sound, memory, and forward vision matter. He is a recorded sound collection grant-writer who helps build sustainable digital collections that reinforce tribal community library, language, and history programs. He is also writing a book about the music of the Apache prisoners of war seized with Geronimo in 1886.