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    Postmodernism Is Not Permission

    Postmodernism Is Not Permission

    Suzanne Kite

    November 2, 2022
    Photo: Suzanne Kite, 2022.
    Making artworks and showing them publicly means entering into critical discourse with the world around us. Colonialism is insidiously perpetuated by artists through artworks, or any form that the movement of knowledge takes, when nonhuman beings are disrespected.
    In September of this year, a person posted a photo of a sculpture of mine “Iyátakunipi kte šni (they will come to nothing” on social media, which was on display at the show “In the Realm of Miracles” at 108 Contemporary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as an example of taxidermy in art. Following the photo of my work was a poll: “ETHICAL TAXIDERMY IN ART”, with choices (a) “Only if it’s ethical” and (b) “No”. I understood this poll as not a poll about my work, but about asking a public if this person should buy “ethical taxidermy”. What is “ethical taxidermy”?
    In the following weeks, this person created an art installation in Tulsa, which prompted me to deeply question the difference between my found deer taxidermy piece and this installation. This person’s installation was multiple large facsimiles of power line poles and transmission towers at a smaller scale with three taxidermy birds just above head height. Colored lights shadowed the birds. The statements about this work showed they imported the week of the installation from the UK, and theorize that waŋblí nest near Route 66 because of Ley Lines and energy vortexes. The three birds were two Long Eared Owls and one other bird, species unknown.

    As I approach the end of my doctorate, I am constantly reminded that I know even less than ever about what Lakota ethics are. Questions about collaboration with nonhuman beings on earth and the spirit world bloom endlessly in front of me, showing me the lifelong road of becoming a better human and a better Lakota. However, I can tell the difference between artworks that are part of critical discourse with the world and artworks that perpetuate harm.

    I have been thinking towards the works in the show “In the Realm of Miracles” since 2015. This group of three pieces contains sexually violent themes. This body of artwork abstracts violence just to the point of focus on settlers’ desire for Indigeneity through disturbed relationships to hunting nonhumans. I wanted to extend the arguments of my essay “What’s on the earth is in the stars, and what’s in the stars is on the earth”, towards the sickness of colonial settler hunters’ relationships to the land, a result of the genocide of ancient cosmologyscapes and evidence of the connection between sickness of the land and sickness of the soul. I wanted to reflect on an assault I experienced which my mind conflates with the mutilated forests in Duchess County, rife with deer tick borne disease, genocide and violence against Indigenous humans and nonhumans ever present.

    There are two sculptures and a video work in this exhibition. The found sculpture, Iyátakunipi kte šni (they will come to nothing), a poorly made taxidermy of a baby deer reveals the mundane horror of human relationships to deer, its title a play on words for ‘decay’. Ȟuŋwíŋ áyapi is a hide sculpture with beaded forms of rot and decay. Finally, Deerfucker is a video created with various machine learning techniques examining text and images where settler desire for deer veers into horror.

    Iyátakunipi kte šni (they will come to nothing) was found and presented as is, because the purpose, goal and intention of the work was to highlight the horror of the death of the deer made more palpable by its shoddy preservation and cheaply constructed environment. I bought this deer off eBay for $1000, thought briefly about adding a piece of beadwork to it, but chose to leave it as is. Nothing I could add with beadwork or say with words can rectify the horror of this baby animal’s curved tongue as it gestures nauseatingly around disintegrating cheap foam glue. Nothing I can hypothesize or frame about the absence of life in this formerly living being can make ethical the presence of 700 years of genocide of our nonhuman and human kin on this continent. I assume it was found starved in the wild and then amateurly and poorly preserved. Death is palpable in its plastic bead eyes. It came with dead bugs sitting on it. My studio assistant and I struggled to be in the same room with it. I cannot say anything more, only offer tobacco.

    Settler, non-Indigenous, white American desire for ownership over land is a desire for indigeneity. This desire requires the constant rebuilding of new mythologies which reshape the apocalyptic events by which they and their family’s gained wealth, safety and prosperity. To me, taxidermy is the physical representation of the genocide of millions of humans and nonhumans. It is no different than soaking our sacred items in formaldehyde so we can never let them return to the earth from museums. It is the freezing in time of savage animals and humans in a dark and wild natural world which must be paved over to quell settler fear.

    American desire turns spiritual as a supernatural connection to place is desired above all else. It is not surprising to me that last year, shortly after I shared my collaboration with the Indigenous collective New Red Order, that this person created an installation in Tulsa with similar themes. Both pieces centered on “ancient Lemuria”. New Red Order and Kite’s Last of the Lemurians, however, was an exploration of the white supremacist origins of Lemuria and white women’s obsession with their souls being originally from Hawaii. This persons’ installation perpetuated the racist myth that there is a lost city under Sedona, again speaking about Ley Lines and vortexes. Settlers’ true fear is that Indian-ghosts are ever present under the soil of their homes. The only bodies under Sedona are dead Indians. Remythologizing facts about the genocide that occurs on American soil cannot change that, especially not in Tvlse.

    Taxidermy, Hunting, and Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Beings
    Settler futurity relies on creating or recreating mythological relationships with the land and the nonhumans on it, often creating hierarchies of control over the nonhumans therein. This desire to create indigeneity manifests in the practices of hunting. Hunting in America is a particularly charged manifestation of Euro-American necro-desire. The desire to preserve nature is the desire to control and own the natural world.
    In the 1995 news article, “Man charged for having sex with dead deer”, a man in Bethel Park, Pa., was arrested after he admitted he had sexual relations with a dead deer.[1] Police said they were called to the condo complex where the man lived by neighbors who reported a foul odor coming from his home. Upon entering the man’s condo, police said officers found a headless female deer and they called in state game commission officials. Police said the man admitted to the game commission officials he had sex with the deer and drank its blood. The man was charged with deviant sexual intercourse, said police, who asked he undergo psychiatric testing at the county behavior clinic. The deer had been killed illegally with a crossbow, police said.”
    While this article qualifies sex with a deer corpse as requiring psychiatric care, a quick internet search during my research for this project returned hundreds of videos, animations, news articles, fictional stories and more expressing male hunters’ interest in sexual relationships with both living and dead deer.
    In a now deleted article, author Robert P. McDowell, used “scientific studies from around the world to form his hypothesis”…“I will show below that the phenomenon known to hunters, as ‘Buck Fever’ is in effect a premature orgasm. This hypothesis finds that the hunt drive is not just a desire or want but once initiated is an uncontrollable need, a genetic neuro/physiological activation of the brain forced on man by evolution/god just as is our sex drive. Mother Nature has rewarded man with a very pleasurable physical feeling second only to the intensity of the sex drive because the need to eat and thrive is almost as important as her number one goal of reproduction.”[2] This scientific ‘proof’ shows not only the desire for sex and death but the desire to make this association “natural” and imbedded within the mechanics of the human male’s connection to the earth.

    Jennifer Rebecca Kelly and Stacy Rule write “hunting is a way for humans to recover two aspects lost through cultural conditioning—traditional ecological knowledge and kinship with animals… men are culturally conditioned to avoid compassion and sympathy toward animals. Brian Luke articulates that the ‘“Love” for animals is expressed as the “desire to possess those creatures who interest or excite the hunter. Taking possession typically entails killing the animal, eating the flesh, and mounting the head or the entire body.” Brian continues “the notion of an ethical code of conduct exists as a mere façade through which hunters legitimize violence. British imperialists took wild animals from colonies for profit and to stage hunting exploits. Wanting to use animals themselves, imperialists restricted native people’s use of them for food and cultural traditions. MacKenzie concludes that big game hunting “ritualized … the display of white dominance.” [3]

    Brian Luke’s powerful analysis in the article “Violent love: Hunting, heterosexuality, and the erotics of men’s predation how contemporary hunting by North American white men is structured and experienced as a sexual activity” examines how the erotic nature of hunting animals allows sport hunting to participate in a relation of reciprocal communication and support with the predatory heterosexuality prominent in Western patriarchal society. Ted Nugent writes of” bow-hunting that it follows this pattern — anticipation, desire, pursuit, excitement, penetration, climax, and satiation…[H]unting includes killing, like sex includes orgasm. Killing is the orgasm of hunting. But like in making love — talking and touching and, you know, looking in the eyes, and just smelling — the long story is the real lovemaking, and orgasm is the inevitable end of it. That is the killing of hunting, but only one part of it.” Intimacy with the land is expressed by the need to control, rape, and kill the nonhuman beings in the ecosystem a symptom of disconnection and illness of colonial domination.

    My interest in the differences between Indigenous hunting protocols and American hunting protocols was sparked after reading Phillipe Descola’s seminal animism text Beyond Nature and Culture, 

    “Speaking of the Achuar people of the Amazon, Descola writes, “It would be mistaken to regard this humanization of animals as mere intellectual playfulness, a kind of metaphorical language relevant only within the circumstances surrounding the performance of rites or the recounting of myths. Even when speaking in altogether prosaic terms of tracking, killing, and eating game, the Indians unambiguously convey the idea that hunting is a mode of social interaction with entities that are well aware of the conventions that regulate it…”
    “Here, as in most societies in which hunting plays an important part, it is by showing one’s respect for the animals that one ensures their connivance. It is important to avoid waste, to kill cleanly and without causing undue suffering, to treat the bones and remains with dignity, and never to indulge in boasting or even to refer too clearly to the fate that awaits one’s prey. Among the Ojibwa of Ontario, the same principle appears to dictate the behavior of a novice hunter: in this case, although he will eat his catch in the company of his fellow hunters, he does so only in the course of a ceremonial meal that ends with a kind of funerary ritual that disposes of the animal’s remains.”[4]

    In the story of the Lakota emerging from Makha Oniya, tricked by the Iktomi, we are so helpless that we are pitied by the Buffalo Oyate and they strike a covenant with us to feed and clothe our people. I am reminded of Vine Deloria Jr.’s use of the term convenant in God is Red, and the intimate relationship Lakota people maintain with nonhuman beings, in the physical and nonphysical world. Descola writes, “The animal is moved by the compassion that it feels for the sufferings of humans, creatures that are vulnerable to famine, who depend upon itself for their survival. the game offers itself to those who truly desire it, as is the case among the Cree.”[5]

    Indigenous, Contextualist Ethics
    How do Indigenous ontologies inform engagement with materiality through an intimacy which leads to  ethical decision making? Can Indigenous intimacy inform an ethical-ontological materiality? It is not  enough to merely displace the human in the hierarchy of material objects, ethical transformation is only possible with an overhaul of who and what are considered beings, a process that can be aided by intimacy with and through material. Western constructions of intimacy is a settler tool of establishing ‘indigeneity’ and Indigenous intimacy as an epistemological tool for creating new relations with nonhumans within ethical-ontological and bio-regional contexts. I first heard the term “cosmologyscape” in a Jolene Rickard presentation at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in January of 2016. It was a revolutionary term, uniting the sky world and earth world into one sphere of perception. I am defining how I use the term “cosmologyscape” as a theoretical lens to communicate Indigenous intimacy with the cosmos and land.

    Lakȟóta cosmologies are the center of this theoretical framework, communicated through stories, histories, teachings, and practices. These cosmologies provide the context to generate an ethics relating humans to the world, the land, and beings. These ways of knowing are essential tools for humanity to create relations with the non-human and they are deeply contextual. As such, communication through and between objects requires a contextualist ethics which acknowledges the ontological status of all beings. This cosmology is understood through the teachings passed down in my family, through my maternal grandfather, Maȟpíya Nážiƞ, my maternal great aunt Mary, my cousin and spiritual brother Corey Stover, and my maternal aunt, Melita Stover Janis.

    The concept of “contextualist ethics”, proposed by Jim Cheney, helps unite the Lakȟóta theoretical framework with broader Indigenous frameworks. In “Ethics as Bioregional Narrative”, Cheney writes, “Relations to people are elaborated ‘through spatial relations and historical knowledges,’ the importance of which ‘lies in the contextualization of [those relations], and the consequent avoidance of any purely psychological explanation…Our position, our location, is understood in the elaboration of relations in a non-essentializing narrative achieved through a grounding in the geography of our lives. Self and geography are bound together in a narrative which locates us in the moral space of defining relations.” The context in which ontologies are situated generates the ethics from which protocols are built. This assigns deep importance to the context provided by the locations, histories, ontologies, and cosmologies of these Lakȟóta communities. Specific contexts are located in the cosmologyscape; these contexts are where, in turn, ontologies are situated which generate the ethics from which protocols are built that articulate epistemologies that enable us to understand and know in a Good Way.

    Materials, regardless of their status of personhood, are alive with their own relations and contexts apart from human perception and influence. The borders by which we separate materials from other materials and materials from ourselves are defined by the dominant forms of scientific measurement and observation. In Meeting the Universe Halfway, Karen Barad outlines why ethics, states of being, and ways of knowing are intertwined. Barad writes, “The separation of epistemology from ontology is a reverberation of a metaphysics that assumes an inherent difference between human and nonhuman, subject and object, mind and body, matter and discourse…what we need is something like an ethico-onto-epistem-ology, an appreciation of the  intertwining of ethics, knowing, and being-since each intra-action matters”. [6] Barad’s theory of agential realism strikes me as having close affinity with Indigenous philosophies, where the arrangement of the universe is so deeply braided together that the world can only be known through communication with and through the nonhuman in the land. Speaking against the current scientific understandings of the ability to measure without effect on the outcome, Barad writes, “The notion of agential separability is of fundamental importance, for in the absence of a classical ontological condition of exteriority between observer and observed, it provides an alternative ontological condition for the possibility of objectivity.” [7] What kind of intimate relationships with material are possible when expanding from this view where the intertwinement between materials, their locations, their histories, their observers lead to the allowance for beinghood beyond the human? What ethics emerge from that possibility? What happens when we destabilize the human as the only observer of agency?

    Exploding these woven together material forms onto the scale addressed by quantum mechanics, Barad writes, “The world is a dynamic process of intra-activity and materialization in the enactment of determinate causal structures with determinate boundaries, properties, meanings, and patterns of marks on bodies. This ongoing flow of agency through which part of the world makes itself differentially intelligible to another part of the world and through which causal structures are stabilized and destabilized does not take place in space and time but happens in the making of spacetime itself.”[8] Perhaps if boundaries and bodies are permeable by agency, they constitute the formation of the four-dimensional continuum within which our psycho-spiritual forms exist, allowing for the expansion of observation more intimately able to permeate material forms.

    How is Indigenous intimacy seen by the state?
    We cannot talk about the intimate without addressing gendered violence and its connection with the genocide of human and nonhuman beings. In As We Have Always Done, Leanne Simpson writes that assimilation practices required the destruction of Indigenous core values, beginning with family structure, “The church, the state, and broader Canadian society worked in concert to surveil and confine  Indigenous bodies and intimacies to EuroCanadian heteropatriarchal marriages, that is, singular, lifelong  monogamous relationships designed to reproduce the building blocks of Canadian nationalism instead of the replication of Nishnaabewin and Nishnaabeg nationhood, while also placing Indigenous  conceptualizations and forms of intimacy and relationship as transgressive, immoral, uncivilized, and  criminal.” [9]In the simplest terms, to quote Simpson, “Indigenous body sovereignty and sexuality sovereignty threaten colonial power.”[10] The destruction of Indigenous values through the rearrangement of the family meant that Indigenous intimacies of family and love were replaced by colonial patriarchy and Christianity. We can see the effect of this hierarchy on the family scale today within communities, we can see that this macrocosm of these hierarchical values leads to the genocide of nonhumans as well as humans.

    Kim Tallbear writes, “I cannot have faith in scarcity. I have tried. It cut me from the circle.”[11] Indigenous practices were acutely attacked by settler governments, in order to specifically erode our ontological values. Tallbear writes, “Mel Chen describes an animacy hierarchy that deanimates certain bodies below others, with humans and western heterosexual males among us, occupying the highest perch. Monogamy and marriage are also part of sustaining an animacy hierarchy in which some bodies are viewed as more animate, alive, and vibrant than others.” (TallBear :30) In Dakota (and Lakȟóta and many Indigenous communities) nonhuman refers to the immense range of beings outside ourselves physically as humans, and even outside our knowability as humans. The destabilization of knowing in the Cartesian sense allows for a broadening of the kinship circle. Without the ability to understand intimacy beyond the human, anything can be destroyed. In Dylan Rainforth’s article, “How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Object Oriented Ontology”, he writes, “In the Australian context, Western-inherited narratives of object mastery and territorial possession are demonstrably part and parcel of the processes of genocide and  dispossession that continue to unfold here.” When that logic is exploded across an entire continent, everything is possessed a long with it, a possession which eliminates true intimacy.

    Intimacy is political and centuries of colonial policies in North America have sought to destroy Indigenous political power. Citing Audra Simpson, Leanne Simpson writes, “the murdering, disappearing, and erasing of Indigenous women is necessary for Canada to secure and legitimize its sovereignty because they house and reproduce Indigenous political orders. This isn’t true just for Indigenous woman, but it is also true for queer bodies and children because these Indigenous bodies have always housed and acted out Indigenous power, political and otherwise…” ( :118) For Indigenous people intimacy and closeness of relationships with family and the spirit world are the core of political power.  Simpson continues, “Nishnaabeg live in a world that is profoundly influenced by the spirit world, particularly at this time. All of our political structures are plugged into the essence and real power of life that exists across time and space as worlds of nonhuman beings, some of which are spiritual beings and some of which are our Ancestors. Decision making and leadership in a highly networked, diffuse political system that is grounded in relationship to spiritual power have to be actively generated, sustained, and maintained within Indigenous bodies and the relationships that forms these hubs.” ( :120) Destruction of kinship with kin, material and immaterial, is the destruction of the whole.

    With and Through: Lakȟóta Intimacy with the Nonhuman
    I understand Lakȟóta artwork as embodied knowledge-making through my performance practice which utilizes the body to navigate digital (visual and sonic) landscapes using wearable electronics. Regarding wearables, elder George Sword directly, although no longer a practicing shaman, addresses the animacy and agency of shamans’ outfits: “But the secrets of the shamans I am afraid to write, for I have my old outfit as a shaman, and I am afraid to offend it; if a shaman offends his ceremonial outfit, it will bring  disaster upon him.”[12] My act of creation of wearables is wrapped up in Lakȟóta embodiment and helps me understand the bridge between ceremonial and non-ceremonial worlds; they also illustrate the blurred lines between communication with the nonhuman and through the nonhuman. Sword communicates with wearable outfit, an outfit made from the materials and relationships with nonhuman beings, Animal beings, hunted and reformed into the outfit. If the outfit had designs or figures on it, those might have been communicated through dreams or visions, marking a communication or collaboration with Spirit nonhuman beings. Upon wearing the outfit, Sword communicates through the outfit, to other nonhuman beings such as spirits in ceremony.

    In the most basic sense, Lakȟóta philosophies provides frameworks for the ontological inclusion of nonhuman beings, an ontology established through Lakȟóta forms of scientific observation and  knowledge making. These methodologies of listening to nonhuman entities are lived experiences with  and through our lands and everything within them, seeable and unseeable, knowable and unknowable.  It is difficult to translate concepts of Lakȟóta intimacy into English and furthermore into theory when relation making is a lived practice.

    One theory which helps me access this space is Jim Cheney’s concept of bioregional ethics, Cheney writes, “What has emerged is a conception of bioregional truth, local truth, or ethical vernacular…bioregionalism can “ground” the construction of self and community without the essentialization and totalization typical of the various “groundings” of patriarchal culture.”[13] The land and its nonhuman inhabitants speak clearly to humans, and not in a metaphorical sense, but in the clear communication of values and extreme depth of knowledge made clear by place itself and our  intimacies with it.

    When Indigenous people express that political sovereignty and kinship come from the land, it is meant in most intimate and literal sense. Tallbear draws a connection between different aspects of Dakota relation-making as different expressions of reciprocity. “There are ways in which indigenous peoples have had relations…I’ve begun to think a lot about how sex is like eating, we have sex with our relatives [as in Mitakuye Oyasin] we’re all related…we also eat our relatives [bison and other nonhuman kin], and that’s the difference between western and Indigenous ontologies, we know that we are eating our  relatives and you don’t get to live without killing.”[14]

    Locating this intimacy as the substance exchanged in acts of reciprocity, I think about Rachel Flowers’ article, “Refusal to forgive: Indigenous women’s love and rage”, she writes, “Indigenous women’s love is not a given; it is the result of tremendous desire to survive…If our gift is received and respected, then the gift binds people together in an ongoing relationship of reciprocity and responsibility. When this gift is rejected or abused, expect our sadness, our resentment, and our rage…it is because of our profound love for one another and our lands that we are full of rage. Anger and love are not always mutually exclusive emotions.”[15]

    Lakȟóta ontologies generate ethical protocols for creating relationships with nonhuman entities and it is from these ethical protocols, from time and intimate research immemorial, where we could theoretically develop relationships with previously unknown entities, spirits yet to be discovered within our computational material, even extra-terrestrials. Lakȟóta relationships with some stones, seemingly inanimate objects, are understood as being capable of communication and holding memories of deep geologic time. In an interview, Lakȟóta elder (my grandfather) Mahpiya Nazin says of stones, “Yeah, they’re like teachers. They’re like…everyone that I have, every stone I have taught me something or is in the process of teaching me something and now it comes down from the elders from the North, the old people. They’re teaching me about that spirit inside of people and how people can… See, when we communicate with the other world, it’s not done through our minds. It’s done through the spirit, not the mind…Their minds get in the way, all the time.”[16] This particular relationship with stones inspires me, as it is deeply revealing to what is knowable and unknowable about intimacies with the nonhuman. How can we find these spirits within the world if we do not have our land to listen to?

    Artmaking and creation with Lakȟóta epistemologies is one way I approach the reorientation of my relationship with materials. Returning to Barad’s spacetime, how the “causal structures are stabilized and destabilized does not take place in space and time but happens in the making of spacetime itself.”[17]  I want to introduce a topic I do not have time to expand upon but concerns how Lakȟóta intimacies with the nonhuman allow for the potential manipulation of time and space into active cosmic vortexes, beyond the settler map. These Kapemni or twisting vortexes are created through ceremony that takes place with and through the nonhuman, in the deepest intertwinement and intra-actions, intimacies where we as mere humans cannot fabricate or ignore or manipulate the nonhuman agency necessary to make immense transformations of bodies and spirits and objects. “The distinction between natural and supernatural, so basic to European thought, was meaningless in Lakȟóta culture,” writes David C. Posthumus. “Humans are not superior” in Lakȟóta ontology, they are “pitiful and helpless” younger siblings of the animal world.[18]

    It is not enough to say matter has agency or might have agency. Intimate closeness with land, waters, and all beings first requires an ontology which includes all beings. I imagine intimacy as the place where my psycho-spiritual body crosses paths with other beings, human and nonhuman, and Lakȟóta and Indigenous philosophies provide the tools to cross paths in a Good and ethical way.

    This is not a call out of this artist, this artist is not named in this essay. I feel responsible for the gross misinterpretation of my work. I believe that ethics is generated through responsibility. Generally, the borrowing or reinterpretation of my work intrigues me and makes me feel like I am in conversation with a wide community of artists, thinkers, musicians, scholars and community members, who honor me with their response and good intentions. This work was different, as it made me feel like my use of taxidermy had given someone permission to use the bodies of nonhuman beings without deeper thought.

    Especially in a city like Tulsa, in a state like Oklahoma, Indigenous cultural presence allows access to a broad community into cultural protocols. Furthermore, the Tulsa-based national television show, Reservation Dogs, highlighted this exact cultural protocol for two seasons. Another Indigenous artist said to me this week, “I feel like [this person] perpetuates the idea that Indigenous people don’t exist and don’t matter”. Here in what is called Tulsa, Oklahoma, we live on Muscogee (Creek) Reservation. In Muscogee culture, owls are taboo.

    I am personally taking responsibility for this person’s choice to import, buy, display, and turn into capital (cultural or monetary) the dead bodies of two Long Eared Owls. Thinking through this responsibility, I am considering how the future of Indigenous intellectual property rights can extend to the nonhuman, how the hides I use in my work should be transitioned into hides I acquire from Indigenous hunters. Using my piece as a reference fills me with darkness, because my work is precisely about settlers raping dead deer, a metaphor for the murder and assault of Indigenous women. And while I gave two lectures on the subject at length in August in Tulsa, I cannot trust that engagement with my artwork will result in engagement with what it means to me. Even if this person is ignorant, I still feel responsible, because that is what ethics is to me, it is responsibility for what I make, how I act, and how my work lives in this realm.

    I hope other artists in Tulsa and beyond who see my work know this: Meaning in artwork is created through decision-making. The refusal or disinterest to examine the meaning of one’s materials is unethical at best and harmful to communities at worst. Like criminal possession of federally protected birds, ignorance is not a defense.

    The three birds in the aforementioned installation are all protected species under the Migratory Birds Act, making them illegal to import or own, dead or alive. This person holds a CITES permit (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) for the three birds. [19]

    Mitakuye Oyasin.

    This essay has been corrected for the bird species and the alleged CITES permit.

    How to report a wildlife crime

    If you think you’re witnessing a crime in progress, maintain a safe distance and protect yourself
    Make use of your cell phone and take photos or videos, if you can do so safely
    Write down any information about the person committing the crime, including any vehicle information, what you witnessed and where the event took place
    If you suspect that someone is trafficking in wildlife online, include the full website URL and take screen captures of the potentially illegal sale
    Submit a law enforcement tip online or call us using the FWS TIPs line at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477)
    Please discuss the possibility of a reward with the special agent receiving your information


    November 23, 2022

    After putting this essay on my website, this person responded with a series of Instagram messages and stories. The only concern they seemed to have is that the species of bird was listed incorrectly and that they allegedly hold a CITES permit for the two owls. Those responses have little to do with the point of the above essay.
    Threatening to take away my degrees, referring to me as “evil” and themself as having “eagle medicine” and “divinely protected” is racist. Anti-Indigenous sentiments are painful to witness and painful to receive.
    I like that photo of myself, I am smiling huge because I love grandma (who was cut out of the image).
    Wopila Tanka to those who have shared and engaged with my words in a Good Way.

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