Artists in Business Leadership

#KEEPPUSHING

#KEEPPUSHING

Going to ceremony, John Isaiah Pepion sits and watches the movements, the designs. Ideas turn over in his mind, coming up with the images he will use in his art.

A descendant of Mountain Chief, a Blackfeet leader, John does pictographic Plains art, incorporating traditional design elements into contemporary illustrations. 

REFLECTING LIFE

REFLECTING LIFE

Some call it Native Americana. A master storyteller in music, Cary Morin (Crow/Assiniboine) weaves a tapestry of words, styles, and soul into an experience that brings life full circle. His sound is a product of every musician he’s worked with or listened to. He’s a musician with something to say, and he knows how to sing it with his gritty, lived-in voice and nimble yet soulful finger style acoustic guitar picking.

Anna Brown Ehlers - National Heritage Award

Anna Brown Ehlers - National Heritage Award

Anna Brown Ehlers remembers the moment when she first dreamed of becoming a Chilkat weaver. She was four, Alaska had just become a state, and her uncle was dancing in his traditional Chilkat blanket during a community celebration.

“I saw that beautiful design and those rich colors. I watched the fringe gracefully moving back and forth as my uncle danced, and I knew I hoped I could do that someday,” she said.

Fifty-eight years later, Anna has been recognized as among the country’s foremost artists by the National Endowment for the Arts through a National Heritage Fellowship. The awards were announced in June. In 2001, First Peoples Fund honored Anna through a Community Spirit Award for her work to revitalize and pass on Chilkat weaving, an art form that was nearly lost in her lifetime.

RE-MEMBERING LIFE

RE-MEMBERING LIFE

A mosaic of memories, the way the mind protects from pains of the past. Tanaya Winder (Duckwater Shoshone Tribe) knows someone has to dive headfirst into this muck and darkness to bring forth hope and beauty. She pieces together memories to answer questions in life, to re-member and to explore healing words through poetry. She writes from a place of love.

A NATIVE DIGITAL STORYTELLER IN THE 21ST CENTURY

A NATIVE DIGITAL STORYTELLER IN THE 21ST CENTURY

When the sanctity of a sacred site was threatened, Razelle Benally (Oglala Lakota/Dine’) grabbed a camera and unwittingly found her calling in life. For years, she had longed to tell stories visually. She wasn’t a talented artist like the rest of her family. But during that time of running a camera, of editing a story about the sacred site, Razelle discovered her art. 

FIRST PEOPLES FUND 2017 FELLOWSHIP CONVENING

FIRST PEOPLES FUND 2017 FELLOWSHIP CONVENING

First Peoples Fund held our 2017 Fellowship Convening earlier this month in Minneapolis. The convening is an extended professional development opportunity, balanced with time for sharing, reflecting and creating new bonds. "My biggest takeaway from the convening were the connections I made with the staff and fellow artists. I got to know my support network there and met new collaborators,” said 2017 fellow Paul Wennell (Anishinaabe/Oneida), a hip-hop artist based in Minneapolis.

The Sacred Hoop

The Sacred Hoop

Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota) is a self-taught artist gaining recognition through her digital vector work. Her art has shown at All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis and Red Cloud Heritage Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, as well as a solo show at the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City, South Dakota. She’s currently an artist-in-residence at Nawayee Center School in Minneapolis, working with Native students for the Mde Maka Ska festival. Marlena is a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artists in Business Leadership fellow.

THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

Paul Wenell, Jr. is an Anishinaabe and Oneida hip-hop artist who performs and records under the name Tall Paul. The music video for his bilingual track titled “Prayers in a Song” reached over a quarter million views on YouTube, opening several media and performance opportunities. He’s enrolled in the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota, and he’s an artist with Dream Warriors Management and a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artists in Business Leadership fellow.

THE BEAST AND THE GARDEN

THE BEAST AND THE GARDEN

Annie Humphrey (Anishinaabe/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) believes we all have a job to do, gifts we’re born with that come out. Sometimes, that’s simply taking care of tomatoes. During one of their projects, John Trudell told her, “You take care of the tomatoes, and I will keep the beast out of the garden.”

2017 Artists in Business Leadership Fellow