Native American people, from many cultures, keep their
traditions alive, and teach us about their living cultures by expressing themselves
through images created in many different ways, and in
many different media. Here we would like to introduce you to just a
few of those people, people who also just happen to be great friends of
Cliff Fragua is from Jemez Pueblo where he
continues to express the ancient traditions of his culture through stone
Today, Cliff Fragua is one of the pre-eminent sculptors
of our time, and he is the only Native American who's work is on permanent
display in the U.S. Capitol Building. He calls his studio at Jemez
Pueblo the Singing Stone Studio, because the stone sings to him as
he creates the forms that continue his Native American heritage. You
can learn more about this Native American artist in the short program
continues the traditions of her
Isleta Pueblo people through images created in clay and in bronze.
Caroline is shown here with her creation, Spirit Of The Seasons, that was especially created for the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
To many Native American people, water is the giver of
life, and Caroline expresses that in her magnificent bronze sculpture
entitled River Of Life II.
from Shungopavi and is of the Sun Clan. From high upon the Hopi
mesas in Northern Arizona, Ryon expresses and teaches us of his culture by
his Kachina Dolls carved from cottonwood root.
The villages of Hopi extend
back toward 1,000 years, and people like Ryon help the culture to thrive
in spite of modern times and modern difficulties.
Learn more about the Hopi
culture in our short podcast, below.
You also can hear Ryon, and his group
as they create images through a totally different medium...the traditional
drums and singing that is shared by many of our Native American cultures.
Navajo educator and artist Amelia Joe-Chandler left her Navajo
country for a while to earn a master's degree. But she returned to work
with children and to express her traditional background through images in
There is a story told in each piece of her amazing silver work, which
is in great demand today.
You can learn more about Amelia's trips back and forth from Indian
Country to Anglo Country throughout her college days in the story she
tells about her life and her work.
Mark Fischer is an educator that worked
extensively with the Oneida schools up in snowy Wisconsin.
Mark belongs to the Turtle Clan, and his work in copper
pictures the age old beliefs held by the Oneida people.
Listen here as Mark shares insights into his Oneida culture.
While Native American cultures, traditions and beliefs
can be vastly different from culture to culture, a universal belief is
Mother Earth, as depicted in Fischer's sculpture Mother Earth that
is shown to you here.
Mark Fischer and Ryon Polequaptewa both are Native
American people, yet their backgrounds, their cultures and their languages
have less in common than the English and the Chinese.
Their only commonality is that their respective cultures
were here first, as the original Americans.
Born on the Menominee
Reservation in Wisconsin, Wendy Boivin learned traditional loom
work from her mother at a very young age. Beading became a hobby as she
made small gifts for her family and friends. After high school, Wendy
attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and graduated
with an Associate of Fine Arts degree in 3-D design.
Wendy uses traditional
materials in her work, including traditional brain-tanned smoked
buckskin, porcupine quills, brass beads and cones. Wendy says, "Like my
ancestors, I use the materials available to me. "
Wendy creates images of
leather, beads and cones that carry on the rich Menominee heritage into
today's time. And that tradition continues as Wendy teaches her
daughters about her special culture.
The spirit of the turtle is very
important in the life and artwork of Carly Bordeau, who calls
herself Carly Urbanskin. But people that know Carly call her TurtleWoman.
Carly is a member of the White
Earth Band of Ojibwe, descendants of the Anishinabe people who were
confined to the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.
A college major
in graphic design and photography, Carly Bordeau works in a variety of media. Her
favorites are pastels and painted textiles.
She loves the
designs of Ojibwe floral patterns that are reflected in much of her work.
preserves her tradition, and teaches us, through images in many different
items, including an entire series of note cards that Carly has created.
Native America, many times, is painted
with a broad brush, and many folks think of the Indian as the handsome
warrior with a big head dress, from another time. And, Native
America seems much like a quilt, with many different cultures, languages,
beliefs and traditions, that seemingly blend into a single entity.
Not so, as the diversity of the many cultures, and our friends above,
To appreciate even more of the
diversity of Native Americans today, and their work to keep their cultures
alive, we invite you to visit the
River Trading Post
where you can see items created by over 87
Native American cultures during the past 1000 years.