Conjured Futures: Artist's Statement

Jeffrey Heyne

To Hunt a Moon

To Hunt a Moon, digital photographs, 14" high be varying lengths.

This series portrays a narrative of land ownership centered on the native peoples of the American West, the fledgling state of Colorado, and the Apollo Moon missions. 

In 1898 the US Army forced a hunting party of 200 Ute Indians from approaching Steamboat Springs. The local newspaper quoted the Ute leader saying they came here determined, “to hunt a moon,” or a month long period. The Moon as metaphor for time and place and was my spark that inspired me to explore collaging my photos of snow covered ranches with those from the Apollo Moon missions. 

Scars from past lessons are repeated today and possibly in the future. Most treaties with Native Americans were broken due to pressures in exploiting land resources be it minerals, farming, or the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. Today this is being tested in the heavens. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 declares governments cannot claim sovereignty over any celestial body. Yet in 2015 the US signed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act granting corporations the right to extract minerals on the Moon. Legal experts believe this Act is the first step in breaking the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. 

2016 in Cannon Ball North Dakota, land issues reached fever pitch over the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. Originally set to cross the Missouri River upstream of Bismarck, but this was deemed too hazardous to the city’s drinking water supply. Instead the pipeline river crossing was deemed safer downstream at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Construction resumed and oil began to flow spring 2017. 

Despite protests of Native Americans and conservation groups, in 2017 the federal government took steps to shrink the size of Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. With four other national monuments also on the list to be reduced, an area the size of Connecticut will become open to mining, logging, and other commercial enterprises.