Posts tagged Dine
The Zuni maps, says Jim, contain something very important: a different way of looking and knowing. “To assume that people would look at the earth only from a vantage point that is above and looking straight down doesn’t consider the humanity of living on the landscape. Saying that there’s a pond, there are cattails, there are turtles in that water—that is a different view that expands the human experience of a place.” This different view is what Jim, the committee, and the artists hope the Zuni people will recognize when they encounter these maps and consider their place in the cosmos—not a world that is constructed from GPS waypoints or one that was decreed in an executive order—but a particularly Zuni world, infused with the prayers and histories that created it. The Zuni maps have a memory, a particular truth. They convey a relationship to place grounded in ancestral knowledge and sustained presence on the land. That such a relationship consistently fails to appear on modern maps has been the impetus for creating and sharing the Zuni maps—both with the A:shiwi people and with a wider audience. They remind all of us of the ancient names, voices, and stories that reside within the landscape, inviting us to examine our assumptions about what it is that makes up a place and the role that we play in that long and layered story.