Friday, November 20, 2015
New Deal Art: "Indian Hunters and Rice Gatherers"
(Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.)
Above: "Indian Hunters and Rice Gatherers," an oil painting by Margaret Martin, created while she participated in the New Deal's Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture, 1939. According to the Smithsonian's Luce Center, "Martin’s image reflects the sympathies of many WPA muralists, who openly expressed the need for images of Native Americans in their New Deal murals."
New Deal policymakers also had an interest in American Indians, using the CCC & WPA to offer them jobs, and passing the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 to halt the loss of their land, promote self-governance, and facilitate business opportunities. Compare that to today, where federal policymakers are doing very little to address the poverty, unemployment, and suicide occurring on reservations. As a former congressman said in 2014, "there is no sense of urgency by our country to do anything about it." During the New Deal, there was real action. Today, there are "hearings," "task force" investigations, and White House "challenges." In other words, hollow and low-cost gobbledygook that won't impinge on the tax breaks, tax loopholes, tax deductions, tax exemptions, tax shelters, tax havens, tax avoidance, tax evasion, tax gimmicks, and historically low tax rates enjoyed by our millionaires, billionaires, and multi-national corporations.