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The Eugenics Tree, and the anti-Eugenics Witness Tree: The anti-centennial through tapestries

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Abenaki and French-Canadian artist, educator and basket-maker Judy Dow, shares her tapestries of the Second International Eugenics Congress eugenics tree, and the counterpart Witness Tree tapestries, and explains the global, local and personal significance of this moment, and the philosophy behind the tapestries. At a time when the world has been brought to a standstill by pandemic, this presentation looks at this moment globally as one of ‘passing through the narrows’, asking what it means to travel through this portal, what baggage we take with us, and who is considered worthy to experience the benefits on the other side. This journey requires us to face questions about how we confront eugenics today yet it also offers hope. As the tapestries demonstrate, like a tree, Anti-Eugenics draws from sources and transforms them into unity of mind and heart.


  • Judy Dow

    I am an Abenaki educator. I teach science, history and math through art. Currently I’ve been working with Gedakina and the University of New Hampshire through a National Science Foundation grant documenting sustainable land use practices with Indigenous youth in New England. This documentation has allowed us to create some of the most amazing maps and art projects. I also continue to teach basketry and beading. These skills often get lost in today’s fast pace world where it is easier to just buy a kit. Understanding the land helps to learn the basketry process. Using basket making to teach both science and math is such a great hands-on way to learn. My work has been on exhibit throughout the US and Canada including displays at the National Museum of the American Indians in Washington DC, Mc Cord Museum and Botanical Garden in Montreal, the University of Vermont and New Hampshire, some of my baskets were part of a three year tour with Honor the Earth Impacted Nations visiting, NYC, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, Portland, Chicago and more.