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Gerald Clarke Jr. (Cahuilla Band of Indians), Native American Art, 2019, charred watercolor paper, Courtesy of the artist

Session II: Education

The Land Carries Our Ancestors: John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art

  • Thursday, November 2, 2023
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Talks
  • Virtual
  • Registration Required

Hear from artists whose academic and educational work benefits their communities. Gabrielle A. Tayac, associate professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and founder of the Public History Lab at George Mason University, moderates this conversation.

About the Presenters

Keith BraveHeart (Oglala Lakota) is a visual artist and arts educator, who serves as associate professor of art at Oglala Lakota College. He is a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. He earned his BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and his MFA in painting from the University of South Dakota (USD). BraveHeart has worked with young Native American artists (grades 11-12) through the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute at USD, supporting their experiences together with other local professionals, museums, and cultural facilities. His work within art and community is diverse and includes exhibition curation, arts and culture programing, and community-engaged arts initiatives. BraveHeart is committed to enriching and encouraging a tribal arts continuum across the Northern Plains region and expresses a sincere acknowledgment of being a “good relative.”

Sean Chandler (Aaniiih) has made art his entire life, having been trained as a painter at Montana State University (MSU), Bozeman, and coming from an artistic family. He placed his promising artistic practice on hold to pursue an MA in Native American Studies at MSU Bozeman and an EdD in educational leadership at the University of Montana while he was the director of American Indian Studies at Aaniiih Nakoda College on the Ft. Belknap Reservation. A scholar at heart, he has devoted himself to language revitalization and American Indian studies. Chandler currently serves as president of Aaniiih Nakoda College. He has received awards and exhibited at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Natural History in Paris and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 

Gerald Clarke Jr. (Cahuilla Band of Indians) lives in the home his grandfather built around 1940 on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation and currently oversees the Clarke family cattle ranch. He holds a BA in art from the University of Central Arkansas and MA/MFA degrees in painting and sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University located in Nacogdoches, Texas. A professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, Riverside, Clarke teaches classes in Native American studies and is a frequent lecturer, speaking about Native art, culture, and social issues.

Gabrielle A. Tayac (Piscataway Indian Nation) is an activist scholar committed to empowering Indigenous perspectives. She earned her PhD and MA in sociology from Harvard University, and her BS in social work and American Indian studies from Cornell University. Her scholarly research focuses on hemispheric American Indian identity, multiracialism, Indigenous religions, and social movements, while maintaining a regional specialization in the Chesapeake Bay. Tayac served on the staff of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) for 18 years as an educator, historian, and curator. She took a two-year journey to uplift the voices of Indigenous elder women leaders, sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors prior to settling back at home. Drawing from her decades of experience as a curator, educator, and historian at NMAI and fieldwork supporting elders across the Americas, Tayac trains a new generation of public historians at George Mason University in these methodologies. 

Made possible by a grant from the Alice L. Walton Foundation.