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Justino Herrera, That is No Longer Our Smoke Sign

Justino Herrera, That is No Longer Our Smoke Sign ca. 1950s

Justino Herrera 
1919 Cochiti Pueblo − 2006
That is No Longer Our Smoke Sign
ca. 1950s
watercolor and pencil on paperboard
14 x 18 ⅛ in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Corbin-Henderson Collection, gift of Alice H. Rossin 1979.144.99

That is No Longer Our Smoke Sign is evidence of the impact the development and testing of atomic bombs had on a local and national scale. Smoke signals used by Indigenous Americans were historically implemented to communicate across distances and different tribes had signaling systems unique to their community. Justino Herrera’s watercolor suggests that the message of this new smoke sign is clear and evident to all those who witness it. Herrera began painting while attending the Santa Fe Indian School from 1937-1940. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in World War II for three years.