This artwork is on view in the Walker exhibition The Living Years: Art after 1989. The text below is the artwork's label written for that exhibition.
Sam Durant grew up in Massachusetts not far from Plymouth Rock, where he was introduced to white/Native American political relationships at an early age. The “Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions” was inspired by Minnesota monuments erected in remembrance of the massacres that took place in the Dakota Conflict of 1862. He developed the project through a residency at the Walker in 2002 with Heart of the Earth and Four Directions Native American schools. “The monuments ... commemorate deaths in the conflicts between the Indigenous people and settlers, from their arrival on the continent to the beginning of the 20th century. I saw turning things upside down as a kind of politicizing, a kind of acknowledgment of a world that for Native Americans is turned upside down.”