Chronicler of the Native People - Frank Howell

Frank Howell (1937 - 1997) was a well-known Southwest painter, print-maker and gallery owner, he did finely rendered, etching like portraits of time-worn Native Americans. His goal was to depict the dignity of his subjects. 

He studied art and writing at the Unviersity of Northern Iowa and taught high school in Iowa. In the late 1960s, he moved to Colorado and opened Breckenridge Galleries. After living briefly in Taos and Colorado, he opened the Howell Gallery in Santa Fe. 

Frank Howell was described as “having the remarkable ability to make a person feel that, for a moment in time, they were the most important person in his life. Understand that painting is a wonderful kind of mirror that reflects the inner you, not your external appearance. You will have a sense of a kind of timelessness, a humanness the poetics in all things.”

Art not only for connoisseurs. Posted by Margaret 


9 unforgettable ways indigenous people made an impact in 2014 

It was a remarkable year for indigenous Americans. In Canada and the United States especially, gains made in the political, social and creative spheres have catapulted Natives to the forefront of cultural innovation and prominence.

After more than 500 years of plunder and death at the hands of European colonizers, the refusal of these strong nations to fade or submit is impossible to ignore — and vital to our identity as North Americans.

so here’s my problem with TWILIGHT critics: they hardly ever talk about meyer’s representation of the quileute tribe. they’ll go on and on about her writing style, or the fact that her vampires sparkle. and tbh edward’s sparkly alabaster chest is a pretty trivial thing to critique, in contrast to meyer’s ruthless appropriation of an indigenous culture.

why aren’t more people having this conversation?? why do we keep neglecting the fact that stephenie meyer took an existing native american tribe, rewrote their entire history, and gave them a new mythology that was extremely “othering?”  

why doesn’t anyone ever talk about this?!?! i mean, i know actual native americans were cast in the films, and that made people happy. but was it enough to absolve stephenie meyer for her gross misrepresentation of an indigenous culture?!?!??

ugh. i just think this is a conversation more people should be engaged in. and it’s happening in some places. but i wish i saw more of it on tumblr.

Irish town builds memorial to thank Native Americans who helped during Famine

A sculpture of nine eagle feathers will be installed in Bailic Park, in Midleton, Co Cork to thank the Choctaw Indians for their kindness and support during the Great Irish Famine.

Despite the oppression faced by the Choctaws in the years preceding the famine, on hearing of the plight and hunger of the Irish people in 1847, they raised $170 to send to the Irish people and ease their suffering. This figure is equivalent to tens of thousands of dollars in today’s currency.

The sculpture, consisting of nine giant, stainless steel eagle feathers, is currently being completed by Cork sculptor Alex Pentek. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Pentek says, “I wanted to show the courage, fragility and humanity that they displayed in my work.”

Read more



The Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell reports that the National Park Service will not allow the Washington Redskins to build a new stadium in D.C. if it insists on keeping its current name. The Redskins currently play in FedEx Field, which is in Prince George’s County, but D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been lobbying to have the team return to the city itself by building a new facility where Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium currently stands. That land, however, is owned by the National Park Service.

The Interior Secretary told D.C.’s mayor the president is reluctant to help a team whose name is so offensive

Truth vs. Twilight

In collaboration with the Quileute Tribe, this site seeks to inform Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and others about the real Quileute culture, which indeed has a wolf origin story, a historic relationship with the wolf as demonstrated in songs, stories, and various art forms, as well as a modern, multi-dimensional community with a sophisticated governance system. We also hope to offer a counter narrative to The Twilight Saga’s stereotypical representations of race, class, and gender, and offer resources for a more meaningful understanding of Native American life and cultures.


7 Native Americans who should be on the $20 instead of Andrew Jackson 

Let’s not mince words: Andrew Jackson presided over one of the largest genocides of Native Americans. So why do we continue to honor the former president’s memory daily?

Mic cartoonist Mady G. has created a few alternate versions of the currency that pay homage to a dramatically underrepresented — and arguably more authentic — group of American leaders.


African American and Native American families and lives.

IndiVisible:  African-Native American Lives in the Americas

“Within the fabric of American identity is woven a story that has long been invisible—the lives and experiences of people who share African American and Native American ancestry.African and Native peoples came together in the Americas. Over centuries, African Americans and Native Americans created shared histories, communities, families, and ways of life. Prejudice, laws, and twists of history have often divided them from others, yet African-Native American people were united in the struggle against slavery and dispossession, and then for self-determination and freedom.For African-Native Americans, their double heritage is truly indivisible.” 

Read more about this exhibition:


Photo #1 Comanche family, early 1900s
Here is a family from the Comanche Nation located in southwestern Oklahoma. The elder man in Comanche traditional clothing is Ta-Ten-e-quer. His wife, Ta-Tat-ty, also wears Comanche clothing. Their niece (center) is Wife-per, also known as Frances E. Wright. Her father was a Buffalo Soldier (an African American cavalryman) who deserted and married into the Comanches. Henry (center left) and Lorenzano (center right) are the sons of Frances, who married an African American man.

Courtesy Sam DeVenney

Photo #2 Buck Franklin (1879–1960), son of a Chickasaw freedman (emancipated slave)
Buck Franklin (shown here ca. 1899 with his older brother, Matthew) was named after his grandfather, who had been a slave of a Chickasaw family in Oklahoma. Buck Franklin became a lawyer, notably defending survivors of the Tulsa Riots in 1921 which had resulted in the murder of 300 African Americans.

Courtesy John Franklin

Photo #3 Choctaw freedmen roll

Buck Franklin’s father was a Chickasaw freedman, and his mother was one-quarter Choctaw. The Choctaw freedmen roll pertaining to the family is shown here.

Courtesy National Archives at Fort Worth

Photo #4 Foxx family (Mashpee), 2008
(L to R): Anne, Monet, Majai (baby), Aisha, and Maurice Foxx
Photograph by Kevin Cartwright

“Through the centuries, people whose lives cross racial lines have found difficulty in gaining full acceptance from the society in which they live. This situation has often been true for African-Native American people, because their blended identities challenge the rules of race and racial categorization.But African-Native American people are all around us. Some identify primarily with a Native nation. Some identify primarily with the African American community. All of them hold the human desire for being and belonging.”

Jimi Hendrix, rock legend

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
—Jimi Hendrix

The rock-and-roll innovator Jimi Hendrix often spoke proudly of his Cherokee grandmother. He was one of many African Americans who cite family traditions in claiming Native ancestry.

Above photo:

Kitty Cloud and John Taylor—acceptance
As a child, Kitty was adopted by Utes when her starving Hispanic parents insisted on exchanging her for food. Her Ute parents called her “Little Woman,” but the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) required English names. She became Kitty, of the Cloud family.
John Taylor, a Buffalo Soldier, married her when she was 18. Their descendants, who carry the name of Valdez, also given by the BIA, were first removed from Ute tribal rolls but were later re-enrolled.

Courtesy Center of South West Studies, Fort Lewis College

The Longest Walk, 1978
Solidarity between African Americans and Native Americans grew with the Black Power movement of the 1970s, whose goals were closer to the nationalism espoused by American Indian Movement activists. Pictured here (left to right) are Muhammad Ali, Buffy St. Marie, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Harold Smith, Stevie Wonder, Marlon Brando, Max Gail, Dick Gregory, Richie Havens, and David Amram at a concert at the end of the Longest Walk, a 3,600-mile protest march from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., in the name of Native rights.

Courtesy David Amram

All photos and information credit from: http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/indivisible/land.html


#DearNativeYouth is the beautiful hashtag all young Native Americans need to hear

These and hundreds of similar messages have flooded Twitter since last week under the hashtag #DearNativeYouth. Within days of its launch, the campaign, created by University of Washington sociocultural anthropology Ph.D. candidate Brooke Spotted Eagle, accumulated an inspiring collection of life-affirming messages directed at young Native Americans.

Sadly, this beautiful outpouring of support did not emerge without reason. Its necessity implies a troubling set of challenges Native youth face today.

Ancient bobcat buried like a human being

About 2000 years ago in what is today western Illinois, a group of Native Americans buried something unusual in a sacred place. In the outer edge of a funeral mound typically reserved for humans, villagers interred a bobcat, just a few months old and wearing a necklace of bear teeth and marine shells. The discovery represents the only known ceremonial burial of an animal in such mounds and the only individual burial of a wild cat in the entire archaeological record, researchers claim in a new study. The villagers may have begun to tame the animal, the authors say, potentially shedding light on how dogs, cats, and other animals were domesticated.

“It’s surprising and marvelous and extremely special,” says Melinda Zeder, a zooarchaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. But Zeder, who was not involved in the study, says it’s unclear whether these people treated the bobcat as a pet or invested the animal with a larger spiritual significance. Read more.

Michelle Obama Stands Up for Native Americans, Says Natives Were Stripped of Their Culture

Though it hasn’t gotten much attention in the media, Michelle Obama made some truly groundbreaking remarks at the Generation Indigenous convening Wednesday on the topics of Native American youth and Native American history.

The White House has posted a transcript of her full remarks online and it is available


But I would like to call special attention to the following excerpts in which the First Lady discusses the source of challenges facing

Native American communities

and the role of the United States government in stripping Natives of their culture:

“You see, we need to be very clear about where the challenges in this community first started. Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems. Poverty and violence didn’t just randomly happen to this community. These issues are the result of a long history of systematic discrimination and abuse.”

The First Lady recognizes and affirms that many of the challenges Native American communities face have roots in systemic discrimination.

“Let me offer just a few examples from our past, starting with how, back in 1830, we passed a law removing Native Americans from their homes and forcibly re-locating them to barren lands out west. The Trail of Tears was part of this process. Then we began separating children from their families and sending them to boarding schools designed to strip them of all traces of their culture, language and history. And then our government started issuing what were known as ‘Civilization Regulations’ – regulations that outlawed Indian religions, ceremonies and practices – so we literally made their culture illegal.”

What strikes me most about this statement is the ownership. “We” passed a law. “We” made their culture illegal.

It’s a showing of respect. No one thinks the Obamas are responsible for creating the conditions under which Native Americans must live and survive.

 Michelle Obama, a black woman, obviously shares in the disenfranchisement and historical trauma that are hallmarks of the minority experience in the United States.

But in taking ownership – in that powerful moment of “we,” she acknowledges a truth that Native Americans have been trying to get people to understand for years: that the United States government committed acts of ethnic and cultural cleansing against the tribes.

Native Americans are still facing enormous uphill battles in this nation, battles over land, hunting rights, representation, and autonomy.
It’s nice to know they have powerful allies in the Obamas.

H/T: WhiteHouse.gov

h/t: John Paul Brammer at Blue Nation Review


Baseball is back — and so is some truly disgusting behavior 

At Progressive Field in Cleveland, opening day for the Cleveland Indians saw an 8-4 loss to Detroit and a boisterous protest staged by Native American activists and allies against the franchise’s continued use of mascaot Chief Wahoo.

150 activists, advocates and even a City Council member showed up to demonstrate April 10. “We are people, not your mascot!” some chanted. “Change the logo, change the name!”

But the fan response will make you sick to your stomach.