The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Spam, 1995

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation of Montana, b. 1940)
Spam 1995
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas
Museum purchase with funds provided by the Edward J. Gallagher, Jr. Memorial Fund

Over millennia, indigenous people in what we now call the Americas have developed rich foodways: from stewardship of wild plant and animal communities like wild rice and salmon to domestication of food crops from corn to chocolate to agave. Since the European invasion of the continents, settler colonial institutions have systematically disrupted Native communities’ access to and practice of ancestral foodways in order to undermine tribal sovereignty and, at times, pursue outright extermination. While connections to traditional foods like buffalo were threatened by forced relocation and overhunting by non-indigenous people, processed foods like Spam became cheaply available through government food programs and have been connected with a rise in diabetes and other health issues. As Smith explains, “This is not a story of yesteryear but today’s story as well.”