New York City, NY
Using webcam footage of red wolves, a critically-endangered indigenous species, Alan Michelson (Mohawk, b. 1953) creates a poetic meditation on threat and survival.
Wolf Nation (2018) links the possible eradication of the wolves with that of the Munsees, the Lenape people known as the Wolf tribe, whose lands include portions of present-day New York State. The video’s purple color and wide format refer to the Native tradition of wampum belts, woven sashes of purple and white beads carrying solemn messages, that were used in the negotiation of treaties.
The haunting soundtrack is composed by White Mountain Apache musician and composer Laura Ortman. The work’s simultaneous evocation of place, culture, and creature affirms an indigenous worldview and cross-species solidarity. Wolf Nation is entering the Whitney’s collection.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website