Meet the artist battling Indigenous cultural appropriation with badass t-shirts and movie posters
By creating counterculture icons, Chippewar is combatting Indigenous stereotypes
Artist Jay Soule has an alter ego: Chippewar. As Soule explains, it's a play on words: "Chippewa, Chippewarrior, Chippewar." So what is he fighting? Indigenous cultural appropriation, namely. Soule is quick to call out the practice that's been showing up all too frequently in everything from sports branding to fashion to tour merch.
In his work, Soule takes Indigenous stereotypes and turns them on their heads, making monster movie posters and t-shirts that are straight out of the 1940s and 1950s. They have titles like "The Bride of Frankensioux," "Last Brave on Earth," "Tribe of Dracula" and "The Curse of the Cayuga" — and did we mention they're totally badass?
"I think it's a way to also kind of reclaim some of our stories and reclaim some of our identity," Soule says. "And I think it was also just to tell a story of how we would have evolved as filmmakers and storytellers, and almost make them like they're our original stories — because in a lot of ways, they are."
The above video was made by CBC Arts video producer Jess Hayes and features the song "Old School is for Lovers" by DJ Shub ft. Morningstar River. Chippewar painted the artwork for DJ Shub's latest release, the PowWowStep EP.
Find more of Jay Soule's work here.
Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.