The most compelling, fascinating and emotionally fulfilling of our generation, McKenna is a master of the poetic, the metaphysical and the personal.
And he is also one of the most controversial and polarizing figures of the modern age.
We spoke with McKenna to learn about his relationship to art and his thoughts on race, gender, and art.
Q: What do you think of the term “cultural appropriation”?
Q: Do you think people who dress like animals, as a matter of course, are appropriating cultures?
A: I think it’s pretty much a question of cultural appropriation.
If you go back and you look at the history of the word, there have been people who have appropriated different things in different ways, so it’s really not that I think that there’s any particular kind of cultural oppression.
I just think that you have to ask yourself, “Am I appropriating these things or am I not?”
That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Are there specific instances where people have appropriated or were appropriating cultural symbols, or is that kind of a general phenomenon?
I think one of things is that, you know, there are certain things that are in the past that are just universally recognized as part of our cultural heritage, and they are still very deeply in our cultural consciousness.
The other thing is, it’s a matter that’s more complicated than that.
So, you might see someone who’s an American actor wearing cowboy boots, and you might think, “Oh, that’s a Native American thing.”
But you might not recognize that that’s not a Native Native American tradition.
It’s an Indian tradition.
And you might say, “Well, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
That’s probably not a good thing.”
You might see somebody wearing a bow tie.
I’m sure that they’re appropriating something from a place of respect for a tradition that’s still a part of the human experience, and so on.
Q.: I understand that you were a Native-American for a long time.
What was your experience with that?
A.: Well, you just kind of grew up knowing that you’re not really part of it.
You know, you’re a kid who grew up in a world where you’re either Native American or you’re Black.
You’re never really part in that whole thing.
You don’t know where your roots are.
You never really know where you came from.
So that’s something that you had to learn.
Q.: Do you feel like you were an outsider in that sense?
I mean, I had a very long history with my heritage, but I never really had a lot of exposure to it.
Q: So I understand you grew up as a kid with a lot more of a Native heritage than most people.
A._ No, I never had that.
Did you have a lot?
A.- Yes, I think I did.
Q.; But you didn’t learn that until later?
I was very young.
I didn’t really have a real understanding of my heritage until I was in high school.
I had never really known about it.
Q; And you grew out of that experience, right?
But I did have some Native American heritage.
Q; So did you know about your heritage as a child?
Q.- And then you went through a phase of coming out as a Native person?A, I didn