Jones and Hitchcock featured in Original Warrior exhibit

VOICES

Jones, Hitchcock featured in ‘Original Warrior’ exhibit at National Veterans Art Museum

The work of UW-Madison’s Tom Jones and John Hitchcock was showcased in the “Original Warrior” exhibit housed at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago last October through April 22, 2019.

Curated by Jones and Ash Kyrie, “Original Warrior” showcases the work of Native American artists. Many of the artists are also veterans, and all echo the long tradition many Native American nations have of honoring and welcoming back veterans into their community, commenting on the complex relationships between warrior and community, warrior and war, and warrior and service.

Original Warrior Tom Jones photo
At the Ho-Chunk's Memorial Day Powwow in Black River
Falls, more than 100 flagpoles encircle the outside of the
dance arena. Families raise the flag of their deceased
veteran family members and often place a photograph of
them on or at the base of the flagpole.
(PHOTOS: Tom Jones)
Jones, a professor of photography with the School of Education’s Art Department, explains that he has been photographing his Ho-Chunk community’s memorial Day Powwow in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, since 1999. These powwows are the oldest in Wisconsin and among the oldest in the country, says Jones, a member of the Ho-Chunk nation.

“The role and responsibility of the veteran is still central to our traditional ceremonies,” says Jones, noting that Ho-Chunk warriors have fought in the U.S. military since the Civil War, even at a time when they were not considered United States citizens. He adds that, during this time, the Ho-Chunk were paid to join the service by individual whites who did not go to war.

“Statistically, Native Americans send more of their people off to war than any other group in America,” says Jones, noting the one in four Native Americans is a veteran. “I am in awe of these people and their experiences.”

Hitchcock (Comanche/Kiowa/German/Dutch descent) is the associate dean for the arts within the School of Education. The award-winning printmaker and installation artist is a professor with the Art Department whose work explores the relationships between community, land, and culture. He grew up on his family’s Comanche tribal land in the Wichita Mountains of western Oklahoma, across from the Fort Sill military base. Hitchcock’s work often combines images of U.S. military weaponry with mythological hybrid creatures from the Wichita Mountains to explore concepts of assimilation and control.

Work of John Hitchcock
The work of John Hitchcock is showcased at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.

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