I’ve renamed my photos several times. It takes a while before I’m happy with the final result. Such was the case with my December 2021 photograph of the COVID-19 memorial along the New York State Thruway.
In December 2021, the Oneida Indian Nation erected several illuminated tipis on Oneida land adjacent to the Thruway. The tipis were lit in blue in and orange; blue for those who died from COVID-19, and orange for those who died in the ethnic-cleansing atrocities of “residential schools.” I photographed the display, blogged about my experience doing so, and used the name that the Oneidas used for the exhibit: “Passage of Peace.”
But I wasn’t happy with that name. And if I wanted to enter this photo in competition, “Passage of Peace” wouldn’t cut it.
So I went with a different name. Especially considering that I’m entering this in competition, I want to show the concept and the heritage, as well as the dichotomy of modern travel. I mean, there’s a damn “Text Area 5 miles” sign in clear view.
Plus, this is an Oneida installation. So a true name for this should be in the Oneida tongue.
After a little searching, I found a website that had dozens of common English phrases that translated into Oneida. And I found the phrase that would work for this photo.
Kátsha’ nu: weso is Oneida for “Where are you all going?” And realistically, where is everybody going these days? How can you keep driving and not see the illuminated tipis and the commemoration of those who have lost their lives from not only COVID-19, but also from various genocides inflicted upon them from white man?
Seriously. Where are you all going?
That being said, this image has now been renamed. I’ve already designated it for at least one competition, so THIS will be its new title upon submission.
I’m good with that. I just hope I used the correct words and phrasing.
Hate to think that I might have accidentally suggested that someone was a jelly doughnut in the Oneida language.
Then again, what is “Ich bin ein Berliner” in Oneida?
Definitely a more “speaks to me” title.
The answer is: to hell in a handbasket.
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