David Wojnarowicz’s Native American Inspiration and the “Killing Machine Called America”

Though Wojnarowicz, like most Americans, viewed Indians through a romanticized lens, his interest in the shared death space of those marked as expendable reveals the possibility for collaboration beyond life.
Considering his use of language like artillery in his visual art, it is unsurprising that David Wojnarowicz was first a poet. Walking through P.P.O.W.’s current exhibition, Soon All This will Be Picturesque Ruins: The Installations of David Wojnarowicz, I couldn’t stop thinking in poems. One poem in particular looped through me and around the works, the one-sentence poem that is simply the title of the collection, This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt (2017) from the Driftpile Cree Nation.
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Indian Slavery

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absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption

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“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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