Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds

Native Hosts for Chicago, 2021
Metal sign panels

In his ongoing site-specific series, Native Hosts, Heap of Birds (Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation) uses the visual language of institutional signage to invert power relations and reaffirm native groups’ historical occupation of land. By reversing a location’s colonially-established place names in sites throughout North America, Heap of Birds defamiliarizes and destabilizes them and then makes the native tribes of that area the hosts to the viewer.

A duplicate set of these three signs are installed outside of one of the School’s buildings at 280 S. Columbus Drive. Often casually referred to as the “Columbus Building,” SAIC’s Native American Student Association (NASA) and others have recently called for it to renamed in acknowledgement of the “Council of Three Fires” that signifies three tribes— the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi—that lived together on these lands before being decimated and forcibly displaced by European settlement.

Courtesy of the artist.