•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Too often historical artworks in schools, textbooks, cultural institutions, and public spaces share a narrative that bolsters white-centered histories, but when an historical artwork is studied as text it creates room for multiple perspectives (Newfield, 2011) expanding the narrative to include subjugated histories. Looking at art through the philosophy of hermeneutics opens up questions and conflicts that arise within texts based on interpretations of those texts (Leonardo, 2003). This paper will apply the philosophy of hermeneutics to critique historical memory, and it will present ledger art as a visual text and counter narrative to dominant white narratives. Ledger art emerged as an art form in the 19th century when Union troops traded accounting books with the Plains Indians. The storytelling aspects of contemporary ledger art provide opportunities for counter narratives and ongoing acts of critical resistance. By engaging in inquiry and discourse with ledger art in the classroom, students learn to recognize how power structures attempt to erase contemporary Indigenous experiences and how ledger art can serve as a counter narrative and an ongoing act of critical resistance.

 
 
 
View graphic versionView graphic version