The Gift

The Gift by Bonnie Devine, 2022

Acrylic paint, graphite, ink, beaded felt, surveyor’s transit, and red cotton cloth. Courtesy the artist © Bonnie Devine Installation photography by Charlie Edwards, courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Art

About the Art

Bonnie Devine
Anishinaabe-Ojibwe; Zhaaganaashiiwaki, gaa-ondaadizi 1952

Miigiwewin
2022
Gaaskiiginowaaboo, asinikaan, ozhibii’iganaaboo, manidoominensikaade miskogaadeyaab, gwayako-diba’akiijigan, miinawaa miskogidagiigin
Nimiigwechiwenimaanaan Gaazheninjiged
Mishigami Gichigabegikendaasowigamig izhi-Ganawendaanaawaan Gaazheninjigaadeg waabanda’inegwaa ge Wayekwaajiwan izhiseg wenji-nanaandomangid Gaazheninjiged

Ogii-ozhitoon Miigiwewin gikinoo’amoonang ezhi-giichigoshkawaad Anishinaaben Anishinaabewakiing miinawaa ezhi-wanendamowaad gaa-ezhiwebag jibwaa dagoshinowaad gichimookomaanag. Gete-gwayako-diba’akiijigan o’aabajitoon dibishkoo nitam-deba’akiijig. Gichimiskowaandeg gidagiigin-apikan o’aabajitoon ji-mikawaaminang ezhi-niiwana’aad Anishinaaben epiichi gichimookomaanag inakaaneziwinikewaad. Oshki-akii-mazina’igan ogii-ozhitoon ji-gikinoo’amoonang awesiinhyag gagwaadagitoowaad miinawaa zagaa’iganan banaadag.

Oshki-akii-mazina’igan waabanjigaade naawayi’iing niizh dibaajimowinan: Bezhig namanji-ayi’iing wiindamaagwag gaa-onaakonamowaad 1817 Chinaakonigewin Zhimaaganishii-waakaa’igan Meigs gii-bagidendamowaad akiin Waawiyaataanong Niswi Shkodeg (Ojibweg, Odawag gaye Boodawewaadamiig). Wemitigoozhi-mekadewikwanayeg ogii-daapinaawaan akiin ji-ozhitoowaad Gabe-gikendaasowigamig Michigan. Anishinaabeg ogii-debwe’endaanaawaa maamwi-ozhitoowaad mii aanawi gaawiin ezhiwebasinog. Bezhig bakaan debani-ayi’iing wiindamaagwag gaa-ozhitoowaad ani 1891 Mount Pleasant Dazhiike-gikinoo’amaagewigamig, endazhi-bashanzhe’igaazowaad awashime midaaswaak Anishinaabewiwaad mii dash 227 gii-nibowaad. Devine gibagosenimigonaan ji-mikwenimangwaa miinawaa aanjitooyang waa-ezhiwebag ezhi-biindigesina’igewaad gikinoo’amaadiwigamigong noongom Wenishinaabewijig.

Bonnie Devine
Anishinaabe-Ojibway, Canada, born 1952

The Gift
2022
Acrylic paint, graphite, ink, beaded felt, surveyor’s transit, and red cotton cloth
Courtesy of the artist
Commissioned by the University of Michigan Museum of Art for Watershed

Bonnie Devine’s The Gift draws attention to the removal of Anishinaabe people from the Great Lakes region, as well as their erasure from historical narratives. To visualize the human cost of settler colonialism, she uses the tools of the settler surveyors, including an antique tripod-mounted transit for mapping land; a vibrant red fabric braid suggests the Indigenous blood spilled to create colonial borders. In a re-mapping of the watershed region, violently bisected by a road, she superimposes the silhouette of an animal over each of the Great Lakes to emphasize the concurrent destruction of animal populations.

Framing the map are two commemorative texts: one (left) addresses the 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs, in which the Ojibway (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa), and Bodewadimi (Potawatomi) Nations—known as the Three Fires Confederacy—granted lands in Detroit, including the University of Michigan’s original campus, to the state of Michigan having been falsely promised that Indigenous students could enroll at the university. The other (right) describes the establishment in 1891 of the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School, where thousands of Indigenous children were stripped of their languages, cultures, and families; 227 of them died. In this way, Devine draws attention to a legacy of displacement and exploitation that cries out to be addressed.

About the Exhibit

Future Cache at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

In Andrea Carlson Future Cache, a 40-foot-tall memorial wall towers over visitors, commemorating the Cheboiganing (Burt Lake) Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians who were violently burned from their land in Northern Michigan on October 15, 1900. Written across the walls above and around the memorial, a statement proclaims Anishinaabe rights to the land we stand on: “You are on Anishinaabe Land.”

Visit the exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

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