There are many things in life that are considered essential to our souls. Love. Friendship. Peace. And while those tenets of our existence are cornerstones for many people, I believe that creative art falls into this category. Witnessing the expression of artwork, whether it be through painting/drawing or crafting apparel, is an open window to a person’s mind and heart.
Oftentimes, that window reflects their heritage, crafting beauty from generational pain, maintaining their familial and cultural legacies, and cultivating purposeful joy. This is certainly true for Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous creatives as they construct stunning regalia, symbolic art, jewelry, and so much more. And, there’s no time like the present to celebrate a few wonderful creatives by highlighting and supporting their work.
Paige Pettibon (Plain to Sea Jewelry)
Paige Pettibon of Plain to Sea Jewelry designs and crafts handmade pieces and fine artwork. She is of mixed heritage and a member of the Bitteroot Salish Nation. Pettibon told Nerdist that she’s built a strong community of supporters and clients through Instagram and her work respects the Earth. “With my jewelry it is a priority for me to use high quality metals mixed with natural materials,” Pettibon affirms. “I try to avoid plastic as much as possible.” Plain to Sea Jewelry can be purchased directly through Instagram or at select markets where Pettibon travels.
A self-trained digital artist and member of the Spirit Lake Dakota tribe, Marlena Myles infuses the heart and soul of her people into all of her work. While it certainly showcases Indigenous beauty, it is also deeply informative and enlightening. For example, the St. Paul-based creative made a complete Dakota land map of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) area with villages, burial mounds, and more. Her brilliant skills caught the eyes of Google, who sought her out to create one of their infamous Google Doodles in honor of National Native Heritage Month 2022. Check out her work on Instagram and purchase it here.
Traci Rabbit is a Cherokee artist whose work honors not only her heritage, but her special bond she had with her father. In 2020, she gained recognition as a Cherokee national treasure for her accomplishments. Rabbit says she feels a great responsibility to share her people’s history and encourage future generations.
“Cherokees are a matrilineal society,” Rabbit states. “Being a Cherokee woman is who I am and along with that comes a great responsibility to the next generation. I believe it is important for me to tell a story through my art of my heritage and to encourage the next generation of matriarchs. Cherokee history is important in certain works I do. It has given me an opportunity to share my heritage with many collectors from all over the world. I would say my work reflects my experiences while growing up and following my dad around the country to different art events.”
Support Traci’s work through her online shop.
Kameron White (SpaceJamKam)
Kameron White of SpaceJamKam is an Afro-Native (Choctaw and Cherokee) illustrator and comic artist, who enjoys creating and designing characters, as well as experimenting with fashion and color. His work puts Black and Brown subjects into sceneries that are not common in history, including mythological and religious imagery.
Ursala Hudson (Kadusné)
Ursala Hudson, whose creative name is Kadusné, is desiger of regalia/fashion and a member of the Tlingnit tribe. Her work honors her heritage through Chilkat and Ravenstal weaving. As she notes on her webpage, crafting regalia and weaving gives her a sense of peace and higher purpose, allowing her to honor the generations of creatives in her lineage. Check out her online shop for more information on how to purchase her creations.