“I challenged the first precept of Native America, which is that it doesn’t exist,” said Hock e Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds. Throughout his forty-year career, the multidisciplinary artist and activist has advocated for the recognition of Indigenous communities through subversive acts of resistance, frequently employing text to destabilize dominant cultural narratives. In 1988, Heap of Birds originated the series Native Hosts, a site-specific project for which he created public signs that acknowledged the local tribe or First Nation as the “host” while the designated U.S. name was written backward. As the artist explained, inverting the U.S. name displaced its authority while asserting the sovereignty of the Native world.
Source: Collecteurs, Art in America