Authentic Native American Authenticity




  • These are considered contemporary.  All types of mediums are used in this arena. Typically canvas or paper are used. Oil, water color, pen/ink and charcoal are all accepted mediums for this type of art.
  • Native American artists use this platform to showcase the everyday/historical life of their tribe. Landscapes, portraits, collages and portions of a memory of traditional ceremonies are the main scenes that are painted. There are also paintings that show both sides of a traditional and contemporary life.
  • It is important to understand that scenes of traditional ceremonies are not usually painted at the time of the ceremony as this would be considered rude and in certain conditions unacceptable. However, a memory/interpretation of a ceremony may be created without the negativity that would be associated with painting an actual ceremony.  (A memory does not capture the essence of the participants as a real life painting would).
  • Navajo tribal members do create, for sale, sandpaintings of their spiritual beings called yei bi cheii.  These sandpaintings are not ceremonial. An example of a more contemporary use of sandpainting art is a desk nameplate.
  • Animal hide paintings are uncommon and very expensive.  Hide paintings use an actual animal hide as a canvas. An example of a hide painting would be a traditional teepee that is painted with symbology relative to that particular person/family.
  • Most traditional paintings can be wall art, animal hide art or sandpaintings. Traditional sandpaintings are not usually seen by the general public and are temporary creations.
Author: Rosalie Talahongva
Tribal Affiliation: Hopi
© LomaSiiva™ Compliance Library