Standing Rock

   “America Realized”   72" x 72" Oil on Canvas 2017  This painting reflects the struggle and hardships that occurred during the winter months at Oceti Sakowin camp - The play on American people and Indigenous people is an ongoing theatre' the will to fight and survive is a re-occurring act.  The Northern cold winds blow Tobacco & Prayer ties into the atmosphere, circling but holding tight in hopes of healing on a sacred landscape, broken tents protrude in metaphor to broken treaties, twisted imagery caters to the energy that was present during the cold nights of uncertainty- fire and flames erupt from propane accidents. A drone hovers over capturing all to share and see- new warfare new times. In the distance DAPL lights replace the stars, dotting the ghostly landscape. The Skull a symbol of our existence, mortality and humanity, is connected to our ancestry. The symbolism within this piece defines the Nation in a true reality wrecked by misgivings and unfortunate events of the past and present. We learned many things through this, some agree and disagree- but it's clear to me. There is no longer a camp but my heart and thoughts are in the memories of that important time.  When painting this I wanted to share my unique view on this- to give it justice and pay respect as well- to share a story, visually for the future to witness. 

“America Realized” 72" x 72" Oil on Canvas 2017

This painting reflects the struggle and hardships that occurred during the winter months at Oceti Sakowin camp - The play on American people and Indigenous people is an ongoing theatre' the will to fight and survive is a re-occurring act.

The Northern cold winds blow Tobacco & Prayer ties into the atmosphere, circling but holding tight in hopes of healing on a sacred landscape, broken tents protrude in metaphor to broken treaties, twisted imagery caters to the energy that was present during the cold nights of uncertainty- fire and flames erupt from propane accidents. A drone hovers over capturing all to share and see- new warfare new times. In the distance DAPL lights replace the stars, dotting the ghostly landscape. The Skull a symbol of our existence, mortality and humanity, is connected to our ancestry. The symbolism within this piece defines the Nation in a true reality wrecked by misgivings and unfortunate events of the past and present. We learned many things through this, some agree and disagree- but it's clear to me. There is no longer a camp but my heart and thoughts are in the memories of that important time.

When painting this I wanted to share my unique view on this- to give it justice and pay respect as well- to share a story, visually for the future to witness. 

   “Samí Solidarity”   72" x 48" Oil on Canvas 2017  Completed to show the direct correlation between Indigenous peoples that share similar land struggles and coming together to support each other in times of need and action.  October 1st, 2016, North Dakota- these two Samí Women ( Indigenous to northern Norway, Sweden and Finland ) were departing the Oceti Sakowin Camp, resistance camp of DAPL Pipeline. I took the photo because it was a moving moment- one that echoed a beautiful reality in a landscape that was divided and shadowed a paralleled past.  We all need to unite and come together far and wide to help each other, share and show solidarity in the face of government woes- today’s struggles are ever apparent in our daily lives- it’s important to be reminded of the loving human spirit that exist- as an artist it’s something I've found important to do and share. They are wearing traditional cloths called gákti, it is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working, particularly when herding reindeer. The traditional Sami outfit is characterized by a dominant color adorned with bands of contrasting colors, embroidery, tin art, and often a high collar. In the Norwegian language the garment is called a 'kofte'. 

“Samí Solidarity” 72" x 48" Oil on Canvas 2017

Completed to show the direct correlation between Indigenous peoples that share similar land struggles and coming together to support each other in times of need and action.

October 1st, 2016, North Dakota- these two Samí Women ( Indigenous to northern Norway, Sweden and Finland ) were departing the Oceti Sakowin Camp, resistance camp of DAPL Pipeline. I took the photo because it was a moving moment- one that echoed a beautiful reality in a landscape that was divided and shadowed a paralleled past.

We all need to unite and come together far and wide to help each other, share and show solidarity in the face of government woes- today’s struggles are ever apparent in our daily lives- it’s important to be reminded of the loving human spirit that exist- as an artist it’s something I've found important to do and share.
They are wearing traditional cloths called gákti, it is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working, particularly when herding reindeer. The traditional Sami outfit is characterized by a dominant color adorned with bands of contrasting colors, embroidery, tin art, and often a high collar. In the Norwegian language the garment is called a 'kofte'. 

   “White Buffalo Calf Women March”   62"x 62" 2017  This painting respectfully depicts the moving moments both physically and spiritually of the Women led movements with and during the NoDAPL camp. The White Buffalo Calf Women March happened on November 27th 2016 at Oceti Sakowin Camp, Cannon Ball, ND & highway 1806.  This was a Women’s Prayer march, white flags and skirts were worn to show solidarity with each other but also to invoke the strength and power associated with the White Buffalo Calf Woman story- coming together in prayer that the collective prayers be answered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Personally a few moments were beyond touching for me while there, moments I thought I would never have seen in my lifetime- a look into the past, the strength of our indigenous nations coming together to corral our beliefs and cast them on hope, perseverance and show the world unity exist in strength and numbers.  I wanted to depict that day, the strength by unity- marching, boots on the ground- the middle road "HW 1806" the buffer zone between good and bad, the front lines. the median plays the connecting points from past and present. we have fought this fight before and continue to.  I witnessed a beautiful sunset while at camp a few days after this march- a three day blizzard was about to hit but before so a sunset revealed itself immaculate. The white flags do what they will- alerting all eyes that fall upon it, what does it  mean to you? its a symbol of hope, prayer and traditions carried through a visual but modern form- the waving of a flag in mass- we pray, we care and continue to hope. 

“White Buffalo Calf Women March” 62"x 62" 2017

This painting respectfully depicts the moving moments both physically and spiritually of the Women led movements with and during the NoDAPL camp. The White Buffalo Calf Women March happened on November 27th 2016 at Oceti Sakowin Camp, Cannon Ball, ND & highway 1806.

This was a Women’s Prayer march, white flags and skirts were worn to show solidarity with each other but also to invoke the strength and power associated with the White Buffalo Calf Woman story- coming together in prayer that the collective prayers be answered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Personally a few moments were beyond touching for me while there, moments I thought I would never have seen in my lifetime- a look into the past, the strength of our indigenous nations coming together to corral our beliefs and cast them on hope, perseverance and show the world unity exist in strength and numbers.

I wanted to depict that day, the strength by unity- marching, boots on the ground- the middle road "HW 1806" the buffer zone between good and bad, the front lines. the median plays the connecting points from past and present. we have fought this fight before and continue to.

I witnessed a beautiful sunset while at camp a few days after this march- a three day blizzard was about to hit but before so a sunset revealed itself immaculate. The white flags do what they will- alerting all eyes that fall upon it, what does it

mean to you? its a symbol of hope, prayer and traditions carried through a visual but modern form- the waving of a flag in mass- we pray, we care and continue to hope. 

   Mni Wiconi, Oceti Sakowin Camp  - September 30th 2016 5:50pm  This landscape, along with the other are from my first trip to camp. At this point, the front lines still stretched a few miles northward from this vantage point, well beyond backwater bridge. I didn’t know what to really think before arriving other then it’s a resistance camp, let’s stand with brother and sister for our people and prepare to get arrested, I found out it’s much more. I fell in love with this view, it would end up as a stopping point on my morning long runs to Cannonball and back- passing through Rosebud camp then the killer climb up and over Sacred Stone and back to the front lines where I would talk with whomever was there, then returning with a sense of all around geographic and scope of the daily situation- I fell in love with the camp and Standing Rock after this trip, I would soon return.  The afternoon was overcast, I was hoping for some good sun but frequent breaks allowed for some good painting. I could see all from here, the camp was still growing and fluctuating with the weekends being prime time for mass arrivals and ceremonies. Watching from this point I could see the camps movement, alive and ready for whatever is needed for whatever situation. Kids played in groups, laughing and screams of joy rolled through the camp below. Groups of horse riders, young men racing one another in a show of bravado traced the outlines of the newly formed roads with such names as Rain-In-The-Face, Oglala Road, Three Affiliated Path, Facebook Hill Road and Two Bears Avenue.  It’s hard to relate to something when it’s never been encountered, just like the recent sub zero temps and maniacal blizzards that’s been hitting camp recently, I had never been in a climate as such until being there again recently. I couldn't relate it to anything or compare it too past arctic storms but I evolved and learned how to adjust to it, just like the whole camp seems to adjust constantly as well as all who's there, and this is a daily occurrence. Observing the camp that day I still had much to take in, but the beauty I saw and wanted to paint I'm sure is an awe inspiring view for any well rounded camp veteran.  From a historical viewpoint, were looking at the same thing, same area, same people before and after Ft Laramie treaty. Numerous attacks were had on Ft Rice in 1865 which was an army outpost built in 1864 and played a major role in the Ft Laramie signing of 1868 and current Standing Rock Reservation. Ft Rice no longer exist but is a State Historical site, it’s 5 miles north of Oceti Sakowin Camp and currently is occupied by DAPL, Military, SWAT and National Guard. For obvious reasons of encroaching on Lakota land, the attacks of 1865 and after are justified, DAPL is an ongoing war between what was then the Yellowstone expeditions to expand the Northern Pacific across Traditional Lands to whatever means possible to expanding pipelines through once again traditional lands with the same attitude of disrespect for all of Humanity. So as I’m looking out at the camp and then gaze beyond the hills I think of the past and present, same situation and same people. I wouldn’t have thought in my lifetime I would see such a sight, I have had vivid dreams of similarities long ago and maybe it was a premonition of sorts but painting that day felt like a dream, a step back in history seeing a lively camp below filled with tipis and relatives all coming together to support one another but fight another battle together against the same enemy and same greed.  Now a # hashtag is synonymous with global prominence and #STANDINGROCK #NoDAPL and #WATERISLIFE takes the place of a void that was never had. We've seen support grow in solidarity with NoDAPL, the widespread circulation and outpouring of support, actions and other events that allow the world to see the unjust treatment of North Dakota and DAPL supporters is being heard. Divest from DAPL banks, plan local actions and put your creativity to work! 2017 will be a challenging year and this camp has been a precursor to the front lines which will be in your city and state in years ahead. as Cornel West said by the Sacred Fire in camp recently “Part of our humility is connected to our solidarity, and thats why were here” 

Mni Wiconi, Oceti Sakowin Camp- September 30th 2016 5:50pm

This landscape, along with the other are from my first trip to camp. At this point, the front lines still stretched a few miles northward from this vantage point, well beyond backwater bridge. I didn’t know what to really think before arriving other then it’s a resistance camp, let’s stand with brother and sister for our people and prepare to get arrested, I found out it’s much more. I fell in love with this view, it would end up as a stopping point on my morning long runs to Cannonball and back- passing through Rosebud camp then the killer climb up and over Sacred Stone and back to the front lines where I would talk with whomever was there, then returning with a sense of all around geographic and scope of the daily situation- I fell in love with the camp and Standing Rock after this trip, I would soon return.

The afternoon was overcast, I was hoping for some good sun but frequent breaks allowed for some good painting. I could see all from here, the camp was still growing and fluctuating with the weekends being prime time for mass arrivals and ceremonies. Watching from this point I could see the camps movement, alive and ready for whatever is needed for whatever situation. Kids played in groups, laughing and screams of joy rolled through the camp below. Groups of horse riders, young men racing one another in a show of bravado traced the outlines of the newly formed roads with such names as Rain-In-The-Face, Oglala Road, Three Affiliated Path, Facebook Hill Road and Two Bears Avenue.

It’s hard to relate to something when it’s never been encountered, just like the recent sub zero temps and maniacal blizzards that’s been hitting camp recently, I had never been in a climate as such until being there again recently. I couldn't relate it to anything or compare it too past arctic storms but I evolved and learned how to adjust to it, just like the whole camp seems to adjust constantly as well as all who's there, and this is a daily occurrence. Observing the camp that day I still had much to take in, but the beauty I saw and wanted to paint I'm sure is an awe inspiring view for any well rounded camp veteran.

From a historical viewpoint, were looking at the same thing, same area, same people before and after Ft Laramie treaty. Numerous attacks were had on Ft Rice in 1865 which was an army outpost built in 1864 and played a major role in the Ft Laramie signing of 1868 and current Standing Rock Reservation. Ft Rice no longer exist but is a State Historical site, it’s 5 miles north of Oceti Sakowin Camp and currently is occupied by DAPL, Military, SWAT and National Guard. For obvious reasons of encroaching on Lakota land, the attacks of 1865 and after are justified, DAPL is an ongoing war between what was then the Yellowstone expeditions to expand the Northern Pacific across Traditional Lands to whatever means possible to expanding pipelines through once again traditional lands with the same attitude of disrespect for all of Humanity. So as I’m looking out at the camp and then gaze beyond the hills I think of the past and present, same situation and same people. I wouldn’t have thought in my lifetime I would see such a sight, I have had vivid dreams of similarities long ago and maybe it was a premonition of sorts but painting that day felt like a dream, a step back in history seeing a lively camp below filled with tipis and relatives all coming together to support one another but fight another battle together against the same enemy and same greed.

Now a # hashtag is synonymous with global prominence and #STANDINGROCK #NoDAPL and #WATERISLIFE takes the place of a void that was never had. We've seen support grow in solidarity with NoDAPL, the widespread circulation and outpouring of support, actions and other events that allow the world to see the unjust treatment of North Dakota and DAPL supporters is being heard. Divest from DAPL banks, plan local actions and put your creativity to work! 2017 will be a challenging year and this camp has been a precursor to the front lines which will be in your city and state in years ahead. as Cornel West said by the Sacred Fire in camp recently “Part of our humility is connected to our solidarity, and thats why were here” 

YatStandingRock.JPG
   Hunkpapa encampment, North Oceti Sakowin camp  - October 1st 2016 6:30pm  At the time this was painted these two tipis were the most northern structures in the whole Oceti Sakowin encampment and the closest to backwater bridge which is just over the hills on the left. In the distance a lone hill rises from the landscape also known as Turtle Island, claimed by both Standing Rock Sioux and Army Corps of Engineers this land is said to be territory unceded by the Sioux to the federal government, diminishing the Army Corps claim of ownership. Through ongoing federal government hypocrisy and the failed consistency to honor numerous treaties- this sacred hill and site where burial grounds are present and also a notable location where many actions, prayers and ceremonies take place- has been reclaimed as our own. To this day the hill still represents the front line as well as backwater bridge, both locations are abused and patrolled by SWAT/ DAPL Military.  The sun was setting and the air alive with anticipation- the scent of campfire smoke and sounds of all kinds echoed throughout the camp, it was Saturday afternoon and the camp was growing for the weekend. I picked this spot for the openness to capture the Dakota landscape- to capture the beauty that runs through the camp and landscape of Standing Rock. Staring out into the landscape, studying my view I was transfixed with what I was seeing. As history repeats and goes this same location had tipis in the 1880’s when Standing Rock was formed some time before- and even before then when many bands of Sioux traversed these same hills and landscape and still even prior home to the Mandan tribe.  As I was painting I saw many horse riders travel up a path between the hills on the left, these hills were off limits to protect the burial sites that rest there, open for travel though on the path. I saw an older man leading a group of younger students it seemed, all native- collecting and picking sage around the tipis, later that night I would understand the significance of that outing as well as the two tipi’s. The painting took a few hours stopping here and there to talk with people, stretch and read ( Gall, Lakota war Chief ) a good recommended read. I usually try and paint quickly when doing landscapes, trying to capture the moments atmosphere but letting the moment work with the flow of the paints. With the setting sun casting its radiance on the changing colors of the distant fall trees and surrounding plains illuminated -the Missouri river seemingly created it’s own dominant horizon between past and present.  The night before I had heard a water drum being played in the distance somewhere in camp- like all night outings in camp, sound location is key along with a headlamp or otherwise letting your eyes adjust. Finding the camp I met a Dinè guy, from Arizona setting by a fire trying out a new kettle he had just got, tying the hide around the top of the kettle with water inside is how the drum works and used during Native American Church ceremonies. He didn't have a rattle to accompany the drum but I did so we ended the night by singing some songs and just like I did, other people soon found us and more songs and fellowship endured. Chet Stoneman, a Hunkpapa Lakota and Peyote roadman was one of the people who heard us and told us the next night he was having a NAC (Native American Church) meeting, north of camp.  I didn't think much about it until the following night when I decided to try and find the Meeting which usually starts around 10pm and goes till 8 am. I had brought along with me to Standing Rock my cedar box, with rattle, eagle feathers and all, specifically for such a ceremony. So I went and found the meeting, the two tipis I had painted earlier. Inside one, we all sat about 20 of us, the scent of sage filled the tipi where it lined the center fires perimeter. Praying with tobacco along with four rounds of singing throughout the night we collectively prayed with medicine. Oceti Sakowin is a prayer camp, it felt like in there that night we were doing the absolute best for ourselves and camp by having our prayers resonate with the night and carried along with the smoke into the sky above- we prayed the pipeline not be built, we prayed it not go through the Missouri, we prayed for our people and we prayed that the hearts of DAPL police be touched. 

Hunkpapa encampment, North Oceti Sakowin camp- October 1st 2016 6:30pm

At the time this was painted these two tipis were the most northern structures in the whole Oceti Sakowin encampment and the closest to backwater bridge which is just over the hills on the left. In the distance a lone hill rises from the landscape also known as Turtle Island, claimed by both Standing Rock Sioux and Army Corps of Engineers this land is said to be territory unceded by the Sioux to the federal government, diminishing the Army Corps claim of ownership. Through ongoing federal government hypocrisy and the failed consistency to honor numerous treaties- this sacred hill and site where burial grounds are present and also a notable location where many actions, prayers and ceremonies take place- has been reclaimed as our own. To this day the hill still represents the front line as well as backwater bridge, both locations are abused and patrolled by SWAT/ DAPL Military.

The sun was setting and the air alive with anticipation- the scent of campfire smoke and sounds of all kinds echoed throughout the camp, it was Saturday afternoon and the camp was growing for the weekend. I picked this spot for the openness to capture the Dakota landscape- to capture the beauty that runs through the camp and landscape of Standing Rock. Staring out into the landscape, studying my view I was transfixed with what I was seeing. As history repeats and goes this same location had tipis in the 1880’s when Standing Rock was formed some time before- and even before then when many bands of Sioux traversed these same hills and landscape and still even prior home to the Mandan tribe.

As I was painting I saw many horse riders travel up a path between the hills on the left, these hills were off limits to protect the burial sites that rest there, open for travel though on the path. I saw an older man leading a group of younger students it seemed, all native- collecting and picking sage around the tipis, later that night I would understand the significance of that outing as well as the two tipi’s. The painting took a few hours stopping here and there to talk with people, stretch and read ( Gall, Lakota war Chief ) a good recommended read. I usually try and paint quickly when doing landscapes, trying to capture the moments atmosphere but letting the moment work with the flow of the paints. With the setting sun casting its radiance on the changing colors of the distant fall trees and surrounding plains illuminated -the Missouri river seemingly created it’s own dominant horizon between past and present.

The night before I had heard a water drum being played in the distance somewhere in camp- like all night outings in camp, sound location is key along with a headlamp or otherwise letting your eyes adjust. Finding the camp I met a Dinè guy, from Arizona setting by a fire trying out a new kettle he had just got, tying the hide around the top of the kettle with water inside is how the drum works and used during Native American Church ceremonies. He didn't have a rattle to accompany the drum but I did so we ended the night by singing some songs and just like I did, other people soon found us and more songs and fellowship endured. Chet Stoneman, a Hunkpapa Lakota and Peyote roadman was one of the people who heard us and told us the next night he was having a NAC (Native American Church) meeting, north of camp.

I didn't think much about it until the following night when I decided to try and find the Meeting which usually starts around 10pm and goes till 8 am. I had brought along with me to Standing Rock my cedar box, with rattle, eagle feathers and all, specifically for such a ceremony. So I went and found the meeting, the two tipis I had painted earlier. Inside one, we all sat about 20 of us, the scent of sage filled the tipi where it lined the center fires perimeter. Praying with tobacco along with four rounds of singing throughout the night we collectively prayed with medicine. Oceti Sakowin is a prayer camp, it felt like in there that night we were doing the absolute best for ourselves and camp by having our prayers resonate with the night and carried along with the smoke into the sky above- we prayed the pipeline not be built, we prayed it not go through the Missouri, we prayed for our people and we prayed that the hearts of DAPL police be touched. 

 BlueRain Gallery, August exhibition, Indian Market 2017- Santa Fe, NM 

BlueRain Gallery, August exhibition, Indian Market 2017- Santa Fe, NM