yəhaẃ: this was a densely wooded hill

In 2021, yəhaẃ received funding to purchase a site in Seattle for transformative land-based arts programming. The organization’s continuing search for land during the planning of this was a densely wooded hill forms the basis of the installation. The ongoing displacement of Native and Indigenous peoples from their ancestral territories and the institutional preservation of this displacement in museums are its broader context.
As you enter the gallery, an overhead, arcing form welcomes you into the space. This cascading archive of objects, connected to community, will continue to grow through the duration of the exhibition. A ground plane depression references the spatial boundaries of a traditional earth lodge, concave formations created by decomposed village sites. Mounds and earthen structures in many forms offer historical context about the ways multiple tribal communities across Turtle Island have nurtured and cared for the land, and have also been displaced.
In a small gesture of reversal, the pieces of the installation that originated from living things and that can be repurposed, including the oyster shell floor and tree stump seating, will be returned to yəhaẃ to be brought back into living entanglements on the land parcel—offered to the ground or used for community activities.
yəhaẃ Indigenous Creatives Collective is an urban Indigenous women-led arts nonprofit whose mission is to help improve Indigenous mental and emotional health outcomes through art-making, community building, and equitable creative opportunities for personal and professional growth.
this was a densely wooded hill is organized by Mita Mahato and Ian Siporin. Concept and design led by Satpreet Kahlon, in collaboration with Asia Tail and Kimberly Deriana. Community objects are contributed by Michael Anderson, Ezekiel Chavira (age 12), Seven Chavira (age 10), Catherine Cross Uehara, Moe’Neyah Holland, and Raven Juarez, with bird sounds collected by ‘turam purty in conversation with Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine and Shareena Purty.

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