“Roadkill Warrior: Last of his Tribe” by Judith Lowry

roadkillFor a small town, we have a lot of accomplished people — from all walks of life. Among others, I have enjoyed getting to know Judith Lowry — and her artwork.

Judith doesn’t mince words. The license plate on her car and her email handle is steeped in irony and cracks me up. It reads “Mrs. Croul,” referring to her spouse, local contractor and builder Brad Croul. But Judith is about as independent as you can imagine. We have all felt the bite. lol.

Judith’s Native American paintings have been on exhibit in numerous museums including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Crocker Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

For each issue of our magazine, we look at hundreds of images to find the ideal ones. I came across this one when I was writing about the Nisenan and CHIRP (California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project led by Judith). It didn’t go with the article but it remains in my memory because of the strong message. It is titled “Roadkill Warrior: Last of his tribe.”

Here are some interpretations from the internet:

“The painting to me most represented how an injured animal may be looked at by a passerby as nothing more than an injured animal. But to a Native American it is looked at as a family member of sorts that has been seriously injured an in need of immediate care. The foreground of the painting represents an economic agenda being fulfilled (truck full of logs and the golf resort). As a whole, the painting represents Native land being ravaged and abused by developers and the Native Americans constantly battling them (symbolized by the knife and van).”

“The title signifies the end of an era like the last of the Mohicans. Roadkill Warrior to me means that the last of the kind is fighting like a warrior to stay alive and is somehow taken down from the growth and overpopulation of their land. The roads paved on the natives land are killing their home and forcing them to adapt and modernize or die. The modern apparel the native wears is significant to the idea of conforming to be Americanized and the roadkill is the eagle who has lost its life fighting for its survival from extinction as well. The lumber truck, real estate signs, and power lines also show the overtaking of developing for a larger population which either isn’t aware of the damage its doing or isn’t concerned.”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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