*lndian *Grandmother *Complex


︎ Art
︎ Writing
︎ Landscape
︎ Life

In Fredericksburg, Texas’ Marktplatz, or town square, there is a series of monuments commemorating the 1847 Meusebach-Comanche peace treaty, an document forged between German settler and Fredericksburg’s founder John O. Meusebach and a group of Comanche chiefs, an agreement that, to this day, was never broken by either party, making it one of the few treaties signed between Indigenous people and European colonists in United States history unbroken. Whether or not this happened is a completely different story. I have assembled a collection of video poems juxtaposed with interviews asking residents of Fredericksburg, Texas from a variety of contextual backgrounds to lend their respective knowledges about this treaty and the Indigenous people that once populated the area.

This project is an interwoven palimpsest of narratives, an inquiry into how transient and relative fabrications of history become diluted, exaggerated, and forgotten simultaneously. The title of my project references Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang’s “Decolonization is not a Metaphor,” in regards to the asterisked narrative formulated for Indigenous presence in Fredericksburg. Like Tuck and Yang articulate, Indigenous existence (and history) is both reflexively asterisked, to silo indigeneity as definitively separate from whiteness and to justify settler colonial existence, while also craved for its unattainable nativity, created and perpetuated through the celebration of this treaty.

The unbroken treaty, regardless of historical reality, becomes inconsequential; a gold star for vestige symptoms of white guilt in the town for successive generations and an impenetrable fait accompli for control of this landscape ad infinitum. Settlerdom relies on particular knowledges, of handpicked truths to create these myths of indefinite and obscured presence, and relies on this balancing act Tuck and Yang discuss to promote it.

I imagine the video watched continuously and experienced repetitively, the testimonies blending together, creating an assemblage of stories that mirror collectively held beliefs of heritage and historiography. Much like the environment, history overlaps and intersects; I stylized the project in a reflectively cacophonous organization, in effect to show where narratives overlapped, where they were miles apart, and were everywhere in between. *Indian *Grandmother *Complex is an exploration of both settler nativity and futurity – the rejection of truth in favor of tacit agreeability, the creation story of white settlerdom in central Texas, and the convenient indifference of a whole town and its descendants regarding its history.

*Indian *Grandmother *Complex was advised by Abby Spinak for DES 3348: The Idea of Environment at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Fall 2021.