The Suit of Invisible Settler Privilege
The Suit of Invisible Settler Privilege
The Suit of Invisible Settler Privilege

The Suit of Invisible Settler Privilege, 2020

This sculpture was created in Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity trainings offered through Live Oak Consulting, a Native owned business, and facilitated by Deana Dartt, PhD and Nancy Judd. It examines the many privileges that non-native people have that are often invisible.

Native peoples who have lived in North America for thousands of years cared meticulously for the Earth. Settlers, not so much. In fact, non-Native ideas and attitudes about unlimited wealth and waste have fueled a crisis that affects us all.

The same people who settled and exploited the land have ignored the people who had cared for it and simultaneously benefited through unexamined privilege.

This suit is fashioned after one worn by Nancy’s grandfather, while working as the Treasure of Standard Oil, who profited from some of the many Settler Privileges written between the lines of this suit. These sometimes very subtle benefits are reserved for those who have historically and continue today to benefit from the erasure and land theft of Indigenous people. Examples include the following (we request that you speak them and feel the weight of them):

  • I do not worry that when I die my language will die with me;
  • I am not confronted with comments that express surprise that my group is still living;
  • I am never asked to prove my legitimacy based on government-imposed definitions of blood quantum” and identity;
  • My ethnic group is usually represented in the media and statistical findings.
  • Images, symbols, or names of people of my ethnicity are not used as sports mascots, Halloween costumes, or marketing logos.