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Photos: Navajo Chief Statue On Skid Row Calls Attention To Beef Over Native Art Collection

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Supporters of the Southwest Museum have taken their protest against the Autry Museum to the streets of Skid Row.

The Autry Museum took over operation of the Southwest Museum and its massive, well-regarded collection of Native American art over a decade ago. It's also taken in $10 million in federal funds to preserve its collection. But right now the Autry has only one exhibit open and one day a week, which has supporters of the museum fuming. Supporter Nicole Possert said in a statement, "That’s not good enough. Taxpayers should be in revolt over how the Autry has disrespected them, and they should let our city, state and federal elected officials know they expect more from the Autry." The Autry for its part has said that it doesn't have the funding to staff the Southwest Museum and has disputed claims that it misused taxpayer funds.

Now a street installation has gone up in Skid Row at Indian Alley, once the site of a rescue mission and rehabilitation center for Los Angeles' huge indigenous population. Now there's a 600-pound mud-and-hemp sculpture of a Navajo Chief that represents a protest against the Autry's policies. It was created by Navajo artist Irma Yazzie and street artist Justin, but it wasn't built to stand the test of time.

Local artist Stephen Zeigler writes to LAist, "The sculpture is intentionally ephemeral and will be deteriorating over time due to weather and/or vandalism and represents the erosion of native culture as well as the erosion of The SWM's collection of Native American art (one of the finest in the country)."