Help us fight cultural appropriation and advocate for community in Jersey City arts
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The soon-to-be-underway mural on Sip Ave. in Jersey City is one of many that attempts - and fails - to highlight Native history in the second largest New Jersey metropolitan area. Once occupied by Lenape tribes before being colonized in the 1600's, the land deemed Jersey City by Henry Hudson was once fertile land where Natives roamed freely.
While we understand that the artist of this mural may have good intentions in trying to highlight this history, we are concerned by his use of Native imagery in a slapdash manner. The torch of the Statue of Liberty looming over a teepee; a wolf howling at the moon. This is the same artist who painted a mural of a Native American face donning stars and stripes war paint. We ask that the city reconsider this mural and others like it moving forward as they are blatantly insensitive to Native American history and culture.
We also ask that Jersey City provide more opportunities for community input during the mural process, from inception to completion, taking a page from successful mural programs in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Rochester. We have a right to know what will be filling empty walls in our neighborhoods. We deserve to have a proper vetting process. And we deserve to have a fair and just arts program that represents all people with respect.
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