In this installation, Andrea Carlson combines potent texts, painted portals onto an imagined future, and a cache of symbolic provisions to draw attention to the theft of Indigenous land and to express solidarity with Indigenous communities on the long journey toward restitution.
Future Cache focuses on the plight of the Cheboiganing (Burt Lake) Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, who were violently forced from their home on the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula on October 15, 1900, when the county sheriff and a local landowner claiming a right to the land set fire to the Band’s village on Burt Lake—the geographical heart of their ancestral lands. The University of Michigan benefits from the tragic displacement of the Cheboiganing Band, as part of the U-M Biological Station sits on their land. The three-story vertical wall features an account of the Band’s dispossession in their own words, alternately presented in Anishinaabemowin (the language of the Band) and English.
The text running above the gallery reminds Indigenous visitors: “Gidayaa Anishinaabewakiing / You are on Anishinaabe land.” Indeed, the majority of the Great Lakes region (including all of U-M’s campuses, and this museum) comprises Anishinaabe land. This assertion of sovereignty challenges the practice of acknowledging that one occupies contested territories, while refusing to return them to their ancestral caretakers. Future Cache implicitly asks those who have benefited from the legacies of colonization to consider where they stand and where to go from here.
The installation also features two large-scale views onto Burt Lake—imaginary decolonized landscapes that nevertheless contain some remnants of the violent realities of displacement. Adjacent is a powerful assemblage of paintings and poems that evokes the Anishinaabe practice of using underground caches to store supplies through the seasons. Centering the experience of Indigenous visitors, Future Cache is meant to foster a sense of belonging and self-determination that will allow subsequent generations to thrive.
Jennifer M. Friess
Associate Curator of Photography
Special thanks to the Cheboiganing (Burt Lake) Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Margaret Noodin, and Richard A. Wiles, for their consultation on the State Historical Marker text; to Margaret Noodin and Michael Zimmerman, Jr. for translating the gallery texts into Anishinaabemowin; to James Horton and Fritz Swanson for generously producing the letterpress broadsides; to colleagues at the U-M Biological Station, U-M Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, U-M Clements Library, and U-M Clark Map Library. For more information on the Cheboiganing (Burt Lake) Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians visit BurtLakeBand.org and Cheboiganing (Cheboygan) History on Ojibwe.net.
Lead support for Future Cache is provided by Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, and the U-M Office of the Provost.
(Maaminonendan) Explore the Exhibit
Photographs by Jeri Hollister and Patrick Young, Michigan Imaging