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Award-winning Native American photographer Peggy Fontenot will guest at the opening reception for her new solo exhibit, “White Man’s Trash,” at The Main in Old Town Newhall on Tuesday, November 19, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“White Man’s Trash” gathers photos of the Thunder Mountain Monument in Imlay, Nevada.

Although Fontenot will discount the word professional, bearing in mind she is self-taught, her work has been shown in many prestigious settings.

Among them are the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg and Heard Museums, the Autry National Center, the Briscoe Museum, the Utah Museum of Natural History, Cohokia Mounds, the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, the Museum of History and Art Ontario, and the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum.

Creek Indian and WWII veteran Chief Rolling Thunder built Thunder Mountain Monument (pictured above) as a reminder to all who visit, the price that was paid by a race of people who were marked for genocide in the name of Manifest Destiny.

The monument is built from a collage of cast-off items that would be described by non-Indians as junk and was collected in a radius of 50 miles of the monument. The only material that was purchased during its construction was cement.

The work on the main monument started in 1968 and continued for seven years until 1975. The work on the other buildings would continue from 1975 until 1983 at which time there was an arson fire. The fire destroyed a three-story hostel and Indian school, two cabins, a workshop, a visitor’s center, a bathhouse, and an underground sweat lodge. The main monument, roundhouse and chicken coop were all that were spared and are still standing today.

The inside of the monument is not open to the public. And although most of the artwork is on the outside, many of my images will provide you with a sense of what is on the inside of the monument – a place where a family once lived and thrived.

The exhibit at The Main, located at 24266 Main Street, Newhall 91321, will run through Thursday, December 12.

white man's trash at The Main

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