Land and Identity: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Grade Level: 9–12
About the Artist
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, grew up on reservations in the Pacific Northwest and always returned to her relations in Montana. She holds a BA in art education and an MA in visual arts. An artist, teacher, curator, and activist, Smith has been involved in dozens of exhibitions over the last 50 years. She uses humor and irony in her work to examine myths, stereotypes, and the complexity of Native American life. Smith lives and works in Corrales, New Mexico.
About the Artwork
Different ways to say “goodbye” cascade across a map of the United States, from the Northwest to the Southeast. Jaune Quick-to-See Smith began painting her own versions of US maps in 1996. “I saw a map of stolen land, a map of genocide, a map of untold US history,” said Smith. By blurring state boundaries and adding text, as she does here, Smith questions the stories a map tells. When she made Adios Map, she felt 2021 was a year of goodbyes—to lives lost in the pandemic, to land destroyed by climate disasters, and more.
Discussion Questions and Activity
Take a quiet minute to look carefully at this artwork.
- Notice the overall composition.
- Now focus on the details.
- Which words can you identify? How would you define these words?
- Think about a map that you have seen. What choices did the artist make in creating this work? What did she include? What did she leave out?
- What messages might the artist be trying to communicate?
- If you could talk with her, what questions would you ask?
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s Adios Map addresses complex issues around history, land, and identity. Take a moment to reflect on the prompts below and then write down your ideas.
- How would this map be different if it focused on other historical, cultural, and social issues?
- What might be included in a different map?
- What might be left out?
Create a map that addresses an issue you care about. What is important to include on your map? What materials will you use? Which words are significant to include?