October 2, 2021
The Whites Are Coming/Spectator Sport was a performance by Gregg Deal, a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. The performance took place at the historic Baca House on the campus of the Trinidad History Museum during the 200th anniversary celebration of the Santa Fe Trail.
The Whites Are Coming/Spectator Sport is a two-part performance by Gregg Deal, a Colorado-based artist and member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Taking place in Trinidad, Colorado, during the Bicentennial Anniversary Celebration of the Santa Fe Trail, the performance acknowledges the ongoing erasure of Indigenous peoples in the American West. The Santa Fe Trail served as a trade route (1821 – 1880) that connected Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico and played a key role in colonial expansion. In direct response to the trail’s 200th anniversary, Deal’s instigative performance centers on the presence of Indigenous peoples to demonstrate the displacement and subjugation of Native communities, both historically and presently.
Dressed in traditional and modern-day regalia, the cast of Indigenous performers are positioned like spectators at a sporting event—sitting on bleachers and watching passersby celebrate a trail located on land first stewarded by Indigenous peoples. The latter part of the performance, features Deal as his newest performative character, Pudusoo (Paiute for “In A While”), an optimistic embodiment of the Indigenous future.
About the Site
Founded in 1861 along the trail, Trinidad was the capital of southern Colorado’s coal-producing region until the 1910s. The land that surrounds Trinidad was inhabited by several tribes, including the Comanches, Kiowas, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Jicarilla Apaches, Southern Utes, among others. The Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail crossed what is today known as Trinidad and Raton Pass, a mountain gap used by Native Americans for centuries.
Deal’s performance is situated in front of the Bloom Mansion, a Victorian building built in 1882 located on the Trinidad History Museum’s campus. The Trinidad History Museum explores the region’s past and its place in the American West. The city block-sized complex includes the adobe Baca House built in 1870, the Santa Fe Trail Museum, and the Baca-Bloom Heritage Gardens.