Celebrating Native Humor

Countering the Stoic Indian 

zig jackson

Artist Zig Jackson takes gentle digs at the intersections of cultural humor in Indian Country and urban America.

A recent collection displayed at the Portland Art Museum showed an Indian in headdress (Jackson) poised against a California Bay Area background.

The sign reads: “Entering Zig’s Indian Reservation.”

And, “No picture taking.”

Jackson says he walks the streets and asks by-standers to snap photos of him, sometimes wearing an eagle-feather headdress.

One memorable shot was taken on a San Francisco bus, with denizens taking little notice of his presence.


A favorite is what Jackson calls, “an Indian taking a picture of a settler taking a picture of Indians.”

taking pictures

He snapped the photo at a pow wow.

Jackson, who was raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, teaches photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Fellow artist Ryan Redcorn, an Osage who works out of his Buffalo Nickel Creative studio in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, shot an impressive video with Sterlin Harjo (Seminole, Creek) called, “Indians Laughing” that belies the myth of the stoic Indian.

Redcorn and Harjo are part of a touring humor troupe called the 1491s, that plumb humor from their Native fount.


Photos were obtained from https://www.artsy.net/artist/zig-jackson









About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in 1491, american indian, national native american history month, Osage, Zig Jackson and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Celebrating Native Humor

  1. Ironies can be such fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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