24 June 2013

Help First American Art Magazine Print Issue N°1!

FAAM fills a gaping void by promoting critical writing on aboriginal art of the Americas directed at the public and driven by artists. It synthesizes the academic and the public perspectives and promotes artists with little to no support infrastructure outside of their own communities. Without a doubt it is on track to be one of the strongest, highest quality publications of its kind. 
—David Winfield Norman,
art writer, Olso, Norway

Our pilot Issue N°0 was successfully published in April, and now we're almost ready to print Issue N°1, which will be out in early August. To help raise funds for some of the printing costs, we've launched a Kickstarter campaign, asking for a minimum of $4,900, approximately half of our printing costs. After 22 days, we've raised 89% of our requested funds. Now we just have one week left to raise the rest of the funds. With Kickstarter, you have to raise the entire amount to receive any of the pledged funds. So, we're asking your help in printing Issue N°1. No amount is too small, and every bit helps—donate today. And thanks for your interest and support!

01 May 2013

First American Art Magazine Is Online!

First American Art Magazine, the new magazine dedicated to serious coverage of arts of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, North and South, is now available for free online at

High quality, glossy print versions of the magazine are available online as well. This pilot issue profiles:
  • Orlando Dugi
    Diné beadwork artist and fashion designer
  • Anita Fields
    Osage-Muscogee Creek ceramic artist
  • Tom Jones Jr.
    Ho-Chunk photographer and conceptual artist
  • Erin Shaw
    Chickasaw–Choctaw painter and mixed media artist.
Feature articles include "More Than Just a Trend: Rethinking the 'Native' in Native Fashion," by Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa); "Northern Lights: Greenlandic Art in the 21st Century," by America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), and "Something Imperialistic Happened on the Way to the Louvre: Delegation Amérindienne 2012, An Artist's Perspective," by Roy Boney Jr. (Cherokee Nation). Departments include book and art show reviews, a graphic design column by Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Rama First Nation Chippewa), literature by Dr. Reid Gómez (Navajo), art news, classified ads, memorial articles, and much more.

The First American Art Magazine website has calendar listings for upcoming Native American art events and calls for entries, grants, fellowships, and other opportunities.

24 April 2013


Makah basketry-covered lightbulb, ca. 1900, Red cedar bark, bear
grass, commercial dyes, over a lightbulb, Seattle Art Museum
I would like to propose taking one term away from you and giving you another.

"Ethnographic art" is the one I'd like to remove. In art, context is everything; however, did the people who created the works of art that end up in ethnographic museums think of themselves as "ethnographic artists"? Absolutely not. This term smacks of internalized racism—that somehow our relatives that made the baskets, masks, fish traps, or house posts are "less" than artists that work in Western genres. We have our own genres of art; we don't need some 18th–century European to tell us what's important and what isn't.

The word I would like to share with you is "ᏚᏳᎪᏛ duyugotv." I asked Ryan Mackey about the concept of the "harmony ethnic," and he did imply that that anthropological term was inadequate. Superficially the word "ᏚᏳᎪᏛ duyugotv" means in English "justice" or "truth," but more specifically "equity with gentle correction." My father said "balance" is a mathematical concept and is inappropriate to express human relations; so "harmony" is more resonate for the complex relationship between art, individuals, and society. "ᏚᏳᎪᏛ duyugotv" conveys the more subtle nuances of a community working together.

Several times I've observed conversations about terminology for Indigenous art revolve around the inadequacies of English for expressing concepts near and dear to our hearts; however, once a term in a specific Indigenous language is proposed, the conversation stops. We're tribal people, so I understand that we feel uncomfortable crossing tribal boundaries. However, I think we can span these boundaries to grasp concepts that we can all relate to. The Diné term "Hózhǫ́" is absolutely a powerful, relevant concept that we all study. I would like to propose that the Kalaallisut term "Eqqumiitsuliorneq" is also very compelling. It means "art" but more specifically it means "to create something strange," which harnesses the power of the uncanny to throw us out of our usual mindset and reassess the world around us in a fresh new way.

Why should we only embrace the words of our colonizers? We have much to teach each other.

14 January 2013

Coming Soon: First American Art Magazine

Live paint at Standing Buffalo Gallery, Norman, OK
Exciting, vibrant art is being created by Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. Native peoples are curating shows and writing new art books. More tribes are opening up their own cultural centers and museums. So how does someone keep up with these changing and developments in the Native American art world?

Introducing First American Art Magazine, a publication dedicated to covering the art of Indigenous peoples of the Americas—north and south. America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), a working artist, edits this magazine due of the clear need for critical, in-depth analysis of Indigenous American art, written in a way that is accessible to the general public—to both Native and non-Native communities.

FAAM will profile artists, both established and emerging. The magazine will feature art show and art book reviews by Indigenous writers. Features will cover current issues in Native artists, new discoveries in Indigenous art history, and profiles of Native arts communities—rural and urban. We’ll also showcase graphic arts, literature, news, and editorials.

Our introductory issue #0 will be published in the Spring in print and online. Issue #1 will come out this August. Our website,, is up and has a calendar of events and calls for entries. Our blog, at will share news, opinions, and art profiles. Through print and the web, First American Art Magazine will connect different communities—bridging the gap between academia and the general public and Native and non-Native art worlds. We will provide a platform for honest, open dialogue and in-depth analysis. FAAM will discuss the human condition through the lens of Indigenous art.

06 January 2013

Solar Map Project | Paraguayan Petroglyphs

Inscriptions Happy 2013! I've been much occupied elsewhere and have neglected this blog in recent months, but just discovered a brilliant project. The Solar Map Project is documenting petroglyphs in the Amambay hills of Paraguay and will produce a 30-minute documentary about them.

Carved into natural rock shelters, these ancient petroglyphs are founds throughout the jungles where Paraguay borders Brazil. They are not well known, even within Paraguay, and survived for so long because of the remoteness of the region; however, logging and large-scale agriculture in growing rapidly in the Amambay Department. Deforesting exposes the petroglyphs to the elements and vandalism is on the rise.

Frank Weaver is the driving force of the Solar Map Project. He was born in Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay and currently lives in Florida. He's passionate about environmental and social justice, particularly for the indigenous peoples of eastern Paraguay. In the 1980s, Weaver's father and grandmother founded the one of the first environmental NGOs in Paraguay. A camera was donated to the NGO, and eight-year-old Weaver became the organization's cameraman. He has visited the petroglyph sites with Paï-Tavytera people since he was a child (Solar Map Project).

In addition to the documentary, the Solar Map Project is photographing the petroglyphs and interviewing Paï-Tavytera people about their oral history. In discussing petroglyphs with different anthropologists, Weaver noticed they did share their information much with the public. To bring global awareness to the dangers facing the petroglyphs and the Paï-Tavytera, Weaver has been releasing his photography to the public through Creative Commons (Solar Map Project).

For the Paï-Tavytera people the Amambay hills are where "God Created the Universe" (Weaver). Members of the Guaraní people, Paï-Tavytera live in eastern Paraguay and southwestern Brazil. The Paraguayan Paï-Tavytera resisted assimilation, enslavement, and forced conversation by Jesuit missionaries in the 19th century. They have been able to maintain their traditional hunting and farming lifestyle, although this is increasingly difficult with the current settlement and deforestation of their lands (Flowers). Popular arts include featherwork and body painting. Basketry is commonly made by men and ceramics by women (Flowers).

Works Cited


Photo taken by the Solar Map Project, in Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay, PY.