Open Source Gallery presents IN UNION, a project by Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds and Keith Christensen highlighting the native role in a union strike, union families, and environmental protests.
Most tribal communities traditionally operate as collectives, treasuring the group over the individual. This organizational method holds contemporary ties to the priorities of labor unions supporting all of the members. Through IN UNION, Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds and Keith Christensen work collaboratively to create powerful and transformational work about the involvement of natives in labor protests, the development of union families, and the environmental protest movement.
Focusing on the Minneapolis Truckers’ Strike of 1934, a struggle that changed the course of the country, if only for a little while, IN UNION highlights native involvement in labor activism and the role of unions as leadership and protection. Connecting threads to this momentous event, Heap of Birds explores his family’s reliance on labor union support in Kansas. IN UNION draws parallels between unions and the native workers who were integral to their success, such as Ray Rainbolt and Emmanuel (Hap) Holstein, with families and tribal councils working for the greater good of the collective.