Tue, Jun 29



Laboratories of the Future: Indigenous Activism and Design Politics at Alcatraz and Beyond.

50 years after Indigenous activists occupied Alcatraz, La Nada War Jack and Robert Kett discuss the event, their recent books, and beyond.

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Laboratories of the Future: Indigenous Activism and Design Politics at Alcatraz and Beyond.

Time & Location

Jun 29, 2021, 5:00 PM PDT


About the Event

Laboratories of the Future: Indigenous Activism and Design Politics at Alcatraz and Beyond.

Fifty years ago, the Occupation of Alcatraz came to an end only after Indigenous activists had held the “Rock” for nineteen months and launched a movement for resistance and resurgence that continues today. They used the island to stage a reckoning with the history and afterlives of American colonial expansion and articulate a political and cultural future for Indigenous peoples through protest, organizing, and design. This event reflects on two recent books that revisit the deep histories of the occupation and explore its relevance to debates over sovereignty, difference, and design today: Native Resistance: An Intergenerational Struggle for Survival and Life (Donning Company Publishers, 2019) by Dr. LaNada War Jack, a leader of the occupation, and Prospects Beyond Futures: Counterculture White Meets Red Power (Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2020) by Dr. Robert Kett, an anthropologist and Assistant Professor in ArtCenter’s Department of Humanities and Sciences.

Zoom link will be sent the day of the event.

Dr. LaNada War Jack

LaNada War Jack is an enrolled member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho. She attended the University of California at Berkeley and majored in an Independent Major of Native American Law & Politics. While a student at UC Berkeley, LaNada participated as the Native American component of the Third Worlds Strike to establish the first Ethnic Studies Program in the UC statewide University system. In 1969, LaNada and other students throughout California took over Alcatraz Island in a peaceful protest of the federal government’s ill treatment of Native people and broken treaties with tribes. This facilitated certain subsequent government funded policies for Indian tribes nationwide while recovering millions of acres of land back.

Pursuing enforcement of treaty obligations and Indian Rights, LaNada was on the founding board and executive board of the Native American Rights Fund for nearly a decade and maintains a current relationship. LaNada has been an elected councilwoman for her tribes and served on many boards both locally and nationally. Dr. War Jack completed her graduate work at Idaho State University with a Masters in Public Administration and a Doctorate of Arts Degree in Political Science, Pocatello, Idaho in 1999. Dr. War Jack served as the Executive Director for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes for three years and is presently the President of Indigenous Visions Network. She taught classes in Native American History at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Dr.

War Jack also was a Distinguished Professor at Boise State University teaching Native American Law and Politics.

Dr. Robert Kett

Robert Kett is an anthropologist and curator of design based in Los Angeles. He received his PhD from the University of California, Irvine and is currently Assistant Professor of Design Anthropology at ArtCenter College of Design.

Robert has previously taught at UC Berkeley and the California College of the Arts and held positions at SFMOM, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Getty Research. Working across California and Latin America, his projects have examined design/technology intersections; countercultural and vernacular design; and the place of indigeneity in modern aesthetic and knowledge practices. His writing has been published in Representations, Design Observer Quarterly, the Getty Research Journal, Curator: The Museum Journal, Los Angeles Magazine, and other publications and he is (co)author of Prospects Beyond Futures: Counterculture White Meets Red Power (Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2020) and Learning by Doing at the Farm: Craft, Science, and Counterculture in Modern California (Soberscove Press, 2014). Recent exhibition projects include Fabien Cappello: Sillas Callejeras/Street Chairs (UC Berkeley), Designed in California (SFMOMA, 2018) and MEXICO 68: Design and Dissent (SFMOMA, 2018). Robert’s work has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, UC MEXUS, the UC Institute for Research in the Arts, and other institutions.

New book: Prospects Beyond Futures: Counterculture White Meets Red Power

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