Twelve native artists honored for work

Local foundation sets up fellowship to promote cultural knowledge

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter



Twelve artists in three regions of the nation have won fellowships of $30,000 apiece from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, based in Vancouver.

In this pilot program, NACF has awarded a total of $360,000 in Mentor Artist Fellowships.

The dozen award winners are all accomplished Native American artists with a track record of at least 10 years and membership in an American Indian tribe or Alaska Native corporation.

More than 100 artists from the Pacific Northwest, Southwest or Upper Midwest, working in both traditional and contemporary styles, applied for fellowships.

The fellowships aim to perpetuate cross-generational cultural knowledge, artistic rigor and creativity. Each award winner will spend one year mentoring an emerging artist-apprentice and working together on a joint project.

The two Washington state fellowship winners are Seattle basketweaver Laura Wong-Whitebear, Colville/Sinixt, and Shelton carver Delbert “Smutcoom” Miller, Skokomish.

The other winners are:


• Nicholas Galanin, Tlingit/Unangax, multi-disciplinary, Alaska.

• Jackson Polys, Tlingit, carving, Alaska.

• Cara Romero, Chemehuevi, photography, New Mexico.

• Dyani White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota, mixed media, Minnesota.


• Lani Hotch, Chilkat Indian Village, weaving, Alaska.

• Royce Manuel, Auk-Mierl Aw-Thum, fiber art, Arizona.

• TahNibaa Naataanii, Din?, weaving, New Mexico.

• Wayne “Minogiizhig” Valliere, Lac du Flambeau Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians, birch-bark canoe making, Wisconsin.

• Delina White, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, regalia/apparel and accessory making, Minnesota.

• Shirod Younker, Coquille/Coos, multi-disciplinary, Oregon.

The Native Arts and Culture Foundation was launched in 2007, and moved to Vancouver in 2009. So far it’s awarded 251 different grants, totalling more than $8 million, to artists in 30 states.

The Foundation now has offices both in downtown Vancouver and downtown Portland. Learn more at