Tag Archives: american indian art

Native American Matriarchal Societies

Women in Contemporary American Indian Art

“Mama knows best” is a timeless truth. It’s a reality that transcends cultures, racial differences, geographical barriers and speaks to the heart of the human condition. Even within patriarchal societies, women and the influence they operate over their children has been documented and celebrated. Within traditional Native American cultures, there were tribes that recognized the wisdom of women, but continued to keep men as the dominant ruling class and decision makers. However, other tribes like Cherokee and Navajo upheld a matriarchal society where women ruled.

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The Meaning of Deer in Native American Culture

Contemporary Wildlife Art Reflects Proud & Rich Symbolism

Native American art often reflects rich themes, cultural beliefs and traditional ideologies. Artists like John Nieto use artwork to display the dignity, humanity and beauty of American Indian cultures. Nieto’s Southwest wall art and other original paintings depict traditional Native American themes and important cultural figures like medicine men, the wolf, the bear, warriors and more. The deer was also an important animal in certain Native American tribes, and served a symbolic role in daily life.

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Native American Art: Traditions & Their Origins

Native American Art by John Nieto
“Welcome to the Neighborhood” ©2015 John Nieto

Native American Artists Weren’t Always Recognized as “Artists” 

The emergence of contemporary American Indian art has garnered recognition from nationally and globally acclaimed art institutions. Yet, the word “art” reveals one of the basic differences between European and Native American ideologies. Traditionally, Native Americans did not adopt art as a major way of life as European cultures in the West did. Apart from a few small groups, the word “art” and “artist” was not even present in traditional American Indian languages. Continue reading Native American Art: Traditions & Their Origins

The Portrayal of the Wolf in Native American Art

Wolves and Contemporary American Indian Art

Native American art features a gallery of compelling, totemic animals, but perhaps no animal in this pantheon commands more respect than the wolf. This sacred animal adorns countless Native American pottery, masks, sculptures, and paintings. Wolves in Native American culture also signify powerful emotions and states of mind; they represent everything from family loyalty to intelligence, cunning, and communication. Continue reading The Portrayal of the Wolf in Native American Art