The task of defining this work is not one I take lightly. This painting was born as a result of the terrible injustice being done to the sacred grave sites of Native American peoples. This vision came to me after visiting the sacred grave site on Charlotte Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee where a super Wal-Mart complex is to be built. Please forgive my feeble attempt to scrawl the interpretation of this vision.
Buffalo spirits thunder across the sky beneath the clouds. The sacred hoop with the yellow bead of truth is broken. There is a Grandfather in the upper right corner. The Grandfather's eyes reflect the "dollar-sign greed" that he sees in the white man's eyes. The Grandfather weeps and his tears become a "trail" that flow downward throughout the painting. Along this trail is the broken heart of the land, as well as, eagle-topped fingers of land reaching for elusive peace. Shadow spirits of natives line this trail of tears. A black cat peers ahead and his whiskers turn into the branches ofa weeping willow tree. The trunk of the tree is really the robe of a medicine man wearing the cat mask. In his left hand is a tortoise shell rattle.
In the lower left is the open grave of a white man. I used the name Beckett on the headstone for obvious reasons. How much more Saxon can one get than Beckett? Remember Thomas Beckett the Archbishop of Canterbury?
A Native American man kneels over this open pit with arms upraised, showing off his new-found treasures. He has just secured the white man's skull, femoral leg bone and rosary.
Above this is a burial mound with a Chieftain's head rising from it. The Chieftain is dazed and devoid of spirit. An eagle flies toward the burial mound. Atop the burial mound is the bleeding stump of a magnolia tree. (This magnolia was actually imported to the sacred sight as a seed years ago, from the Hermitage and grows strong and untouched as native people all around it are being dug up. Remember the Hermitage? It was the home of President Andrew Jackson, the guy who death-marched thousands of native Americans down the trail of tears.) The irony of this stupefies me.
Upon closer investigation the stump becomes the crown of a Native Princess whose braided hair is comprised of the fallen magnolia leaves. She looks away from the desecration to a land of freedom and peace.
Above this land is the skull of a long-horn. An arrow on the stone formation points to the burning pipe and three woodpecker feathers. A screaming face encompasses a major portion of the stone. Woven into the stone is the form of a sundancer, a bird, three mountains, and bear claws grip their way into the trail of tears.
By the way, the stone formation is actually the dug up stone box graves of the Natives.