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Not Your Grandfather's Horse: Automobiles Performing the Trickster in Modern and Contemporary Work by Artists from Plains Cultures

Moses, Aaron Chance
The automobile is a recurring motif among modern and contemporary Native American artists that has gone severely understudied. By examining the use of the automobile motif by Native American artists from Plains tribes as well as the methods by which Native American artists have coopted automobile culture to expand their audiences, I will demonstrate that the automobile motif in Native American art functions as a �trickster� figure. In this �trickster shift,� the automobile captures the attention of an audience through appeal to stereotype and absurdity only to reverse expectations and promote greater consideration of the other. In the creation of such work, Native artists claim the automobile as a Native American space and elevate the automobile beyond its mundanity by transforming an everyday object into a sign of cultural continuity and an embodiment of Native American historicity.