Native American Art

Graphic by Michael Patti, Texas Observer

This article was reported in collaboration with The Texas Observer and created in partnership with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

It's a modest museum on the edge of a modest town. The Lander Pioneer Museum is dimly lit, a nod to its log cabin beginnings, and its mismatched display cases house everything from antique saddles to applesauce mills-artifacts of early settlers in what is now Lander, Wyoming. In the main gallery, a placard announces the institution's major show, "Tribal Warrior Art." The exhibition, which debuted in fall of 2018, contains about 100 ledger art drawings- narrative illustrations created by Indigenous artists from the Plains on discarded account books, mostly during the late 19th century.

Whitney Western Art Museum

Tommy Wayne Cannon, or more commonly known as T.C. Cannon, was Native American artist of the 20th century. He was an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe. Karen McWhorter, the curator of the Whitney Western Art Museum, said he played an important role in the development of contemporary Native art.

Ucross Foundation

For the first time in 41 years, an Indigenous person will sit on the Ucross Foundation's Board of Directors. The foundation announced the appointment of Scott Manning Stevens, a citizen of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, On Thursday, November 21. 

Adam Sings In The Timber

Crow Fair is unlike any other Powwow in the world. For one, horses and their riders have the right of way on roads throughout the Powwow grounds. It also begins every morning with a parade. 


Photo courtesy The Brinton Museum

The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, is home to a collection of artifacts and objects from many Plains Indian tribes. As it open for the season, the Brinton along with the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies put together an exhibit centered around the Lakota creation story. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler sat down with Craig Howe, the director of the Center for American Indian Research, to talk about how the story has an impact today.

The Plains Indian Museum recently acquired two pieces of artwork from Lakota artist Dyani White Hawk. The two paintings are small 13 inch cubes. Rebecca West, the curator of the museum, said the paintings really evoke White Hawk’s formal artistic training and generational skill of beadwork. West said the pieces are bands of color done in acrylic and beadwork.

Taylar Stagner

This month, the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne hosted a series of events by Indigenous artists and speakers to explore Native people's concepts of illness and health. One speaker was Laguna Pueblo Tribal Member Lee Francis who owns Red Planet Books and Comics in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Lee is also the CEO of the printing press Native Realities. His talk was about Native representation in pop culture.

Wyoming Public Radio's Taylar Stagner met with Francis at a local watering hole in downtown Cheyenne to talk about the importance of seeing yourself reflected in the media you consume.

Jordan Dresser

A new museum installation called "Arapaho Roots" is opening November 17 in Colorado at the Museum of Boulder. The pieces will be animated Arapaho stories put up on screens throughout the museum. 

Sydney Pursel

The Ucross Foundation artist residency program in northern Wyoming has announced the winner of its first Native American visual artist fellowship award. Sydney Pursel will spend a month at Ucross, receive a $1,000 stipend and show her work in their gallery.

Pursel is a member of the Iowa Tribe, and said a lot of her early work wrestled with tribal identity.

Martirene Alcantara

The artist residency program Ucross in north central Wyoming has created a new fellowship for Native American visual artists. Ucross President Sharon Dynak said they decided to pursue the fellowship because they haven’t seen as many applications from Native artists as they’d like, even though their ranch is located near both the Wind River and Crow reservations.

Darrah Perez

Today in Riverton, a class full of Native American jewelry makers are learning how to screen print. Eastern Shoshone member Hope Abeyta wants to screen print her logo on a child-size tepee. The Central Wyoming College course was created specifically for the eclipse since Riverton and much of the reservation falls inside the eclipse’s shadow. The goal is to get these artists the business skills they need to be ready for the event. Abeyta says she found the class on Facebook and signed up.