University arts exec under pressure from indigenous artist

University arts exec under pressure from indigenous artist


norman lebrecht

February 09, 2021

Make sense of this, if you can.

A woman of native-American descent is complaining that the performing arts chief of Montclair University in New Jersey refuses to recognise her people’s rights to the land on which the university stands.

She wants to have the executive fired. The unversity is trying to appease her, without having to give up its land.

Read it here.


  • Rogerio says:

    Sorry, this womXn’s (taken from her letter) complaint is just too long to read.
    But I got the idea that it has nothing to do with land but rather because she was endowed with USD 25k instead if 100k she was expecting.
    Money talks. Even to native American womXn.

  • Bill says:

    I don’t know if she has a legitimate claim or not, but the University is currently owned by State of New Jersey; I would think the arts performing arts director has no authority to decide whether or not to enter a lease agreement with her or to hand over land currently owed by the state of New Jersey to her people.

    She is welcome to petition the governor, the state legislature and the courts on the matter.

  • E Rand says:

    I love seeing universities suffer from the crt stupidity they created. Howard Zinn must be so proud.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    She needs to bury the hatchet, but not in the chief’s skull.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Well that’s more than just a tickle.

    Just a bland guess, but I think that someone’s music just wasn’t up to getting the whole establishment to float away…..

  • John Borstlap says:

    In theory, it is possible to argue that all US citizens who are not desendents from the natives, should be kicked-out, since they illegally invaded and occupied the natives’ lands. It began with the Dutch colonialisation of what later-on was named New York, followed by the Brits, and then a long list of immigrants from all over the world.

    If realized, I would propose to begin with Mr Trump.

    • James Weiss says:

      I hate to tell you this but there are no “native” peoples in America. Everyone came from elsewhere.

      This is just more woke nonsense. I guess she’s looking to have his scalp.

      • Peter San Diego says:

        Yes: and that is why Canadians use the proper nomenclature of “First Nations” to represent descendants of the original arrivals from Siberia.

      • Patricia says:

        American Indians are not ‘natives ‘ either. They came down from Asia.

      • John Borstlap says:

        When the ‘first immigrants’ came into America, they did not ‘take land’ from locals. The continent was empty of humans. All subsequent immigrants have therefore a different status.

        • Ashu says:

          Asians crossed to the future Americas in a series of waves over a vast period of time. Nothing human is that simple.

          • John Borstlap says:

            The point is, that the waves of Asians were hunting and gathering tribes and not land owners, they had no concept of state as the Europeans had. That is a fundamental difference and the beginning of the problems, it seems to me.

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      Don’t forget the Spanish and the French who took vast swathes of land!

    • E Rand says:

      I don’t think that could be argued in any way. “Settlers” are distinct from “colonizers”. There wasn’t even agreement between the numerous tribes what land belonged to whom – they fought over it, savagely, for centuries. Then Europeans came, and they fought them savagely (and won for many years). You seem sincere about this matter though, so I would recommend that you lead by example and give up some (or perhaps all) of your stolen, occupied real estate and offer it to whatever tribe occupied your area last …..(you’ll never do that).
      Incidentally, I love the degree to which Trump still lives rent-free in your head.

      • John Borstlap says:

        The Indians, as far as I know, did not have a concept of ownership of land areas. If/when they fought, that was about very different matters, like hunting areas.

        As far as my own estate is concerned: I honestly inherited it from the landed aristocracy a member of whom had misbehaved, long before my time, so there is nobody to return it to. And since we have a group of Syrian refugees working here, there are no guilt feelings or woke complexes – apart from my PA.

  • Ned Keane says:

    There seems to be a lot of stories today that are triggers for the old fart crowd on here; the let’s keep classical music to ourselves and not let the different people in crowd; the it’s political correctness gone mad crowd; the musical equivalent of UKIP crowd.
    You’re old and you’ll be gone before long, chaps. In the meantime I suppose it keeps the click through rates up for SD…

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      As the nice old saying goes: geh in dr erd, shmuck.

    • James Weiss says:

      I’d happily let the “new people in” – whomever they might be – but so far there’s no evidence at all that this “crowd” is remotely interested in classical music.

  • Simon says:

    Welcome to Third Wave Antiracism. The ultimate message: Shut up and Listen! I imagine if she had been successful in this shake-down attempt her performances would have sold tens of tickets.

    • The View from America says:

      … And some of those would have been because someone ticked the wrong box on the order form by mistake.

  • Anthony M Moore says:

    ‘Land Acknowledgement’ is gaining credence in the USA, but it’s a slippery slope—the Acknowledgement is simply a precursor to demands for the return of land and also reparations. Here is a link that explains these goals very clearly, and details the language that should be used when discussing colonisation:
    There appears to be little appreciation of the complexities of human history.

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    Isn’t this what the Americans voted for? Isn’t this what winning the executive and parliamentary offices was all about? Anglo-Europeans pillaged and raided her lands for centuries. I thought this was the moment of comeuppance (along with deposing tRump the tyrannical) that everyone here was so excited to see.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California, to the New York Island
    From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters
    This land was made for you and me

    …but to the woke mishegoss, even Woody Guthrie would now be a reactionary…

    • Simon says:

      News alert – annoyingly self-important “artist” triggered by performing arts executive raising his voice when he could not agree to a “non-negotiable” demand granting the land beneath his employer’s building to her and her people.

  • JussiB says:

    Basically it’s first come first served. Feather Indians got here first so they own the place. That’s the woke argument.

  • GCMP says:

    The Harris Theatre in Chicago plays a recording before every event telling the audience it was built on native American land. Problem is, I believe it was built at least in part on landfill.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Much more of this to come in Biden’s new ‘unifying’ USA…

    • Nick says:

      You are very right unfortunately!!! This is all the Biden’s people will be talking about to deflect from what they do!!

  • maey says:

    “the performing arts chief”

    It is racist and cultural appropriation to use the word “chief”. He’s the arts “administrator” or “manager” or “head”.

    She’ll have your scalp for calling him chief.

  • Anon9 says:

    Here is a sample of Emily Johnson’s creative work, supported by a bewildering number of arts funding bodies. Breathe deeply and enjoy.

    • V.Lind says:

      As a veteran of dance in all forms, I found this — or the first five or six minutes of it, all I could be arsed with — beyond bewildering. But I have used up my quotient of bad words, so can say no more.

      • Anon9 says:

        You endured it longer than I did – well done! At one point I hoped this orgy of shallow self-admiring pretentiousness was satire, but I’m afraid not. There was quite a nice unimpressed dog, though, clearly thinking ‘what the f***’.

    • Simon says:

      Honestly this is complete rubbish. Also, I want to see a DNA test to see if she is more Native American than Elizabeth Warren.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Finally some women who really do something worthwhile! Dancing with the trees! Plumbing the depth of the future! The trees will be very happy you can see that. We as a species are so much closer to Nature than all those authoritarian males with their mouldy music.


  • Mike says:

    What does this have to do with classical music? We get it, Norman, you’re anti-PC culture. I’d go to Breitbart if I wanted that. Stick to the music news…

    • Simon says:

      More than just classical music Mike: Welcome to Slipped Disc, the world’s most-read cultural website. You have joined a readership of more than one million visitors a month.

  • Terence says:

    Wheeler made the mistake of continuing to deal with this person directly.

    As soon as she made these demands he should have let the legal area or the university attorney deal with her.

    It’s good to read the university defending him though. So many others have been thrown to the wolves for nothing.

    (I apologise to wolves – they are better than people like Johnson.)

  • Freddy says:

    I often don’t agree with Mr Lebrecht’s cultural criticism. In this case, though, I share his befuddlement. I find this type of litigation asinine and wasteful based on practical and historical grounds. That said, some of the comments on this thread made me ashamed to be on their side. There is an intellectual void on both sides of this issue. There is dishonesty, too. If you believe in rights of conquest, so be it. That is an old line with logical foundations. Go ahead and say it !

  • CA says:

    Give me a break already.

  • Dr. Anita Dyck says:

    They reap what they sow, keep digging.