Visit to Umatilla County, Tamastslikt, and Crow’s Shadow

Summer in Oregon is unreal! Sooo beautiful and pleasant. The best time to visit Eastern Oregon is June when it isn’t too hot and the best time to visit Portland is July, August, and September when the rain has passed. Check out these pictures from the drive.

We arrived in Pendleton and had dinner with family friend Tessie Williams and her granddaughter, Shalaya at Hamley’s, the “epic steakhouse of the west”. They had a babyback rib special. YUM! We stayed the night in Pendleton, Oregon at Americas Best Value Inn (Lived up to its name at $70 a night. Seemed like a pretty good value to me).

The next morning we me with Shalaya Williams and Bobbie Conner, executive director of Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. They gave us a brief tour of the museum and the outdoor village where we discussed the importance and ambiguity in identifying authentic Native American art. Bobbie is a wealth of information and couldn’t have been more helpful. She emphasized the complexity of the Native American art market and the challenges in classifying and authenticating Native American art. What exactly is authentic Native American Art? Does the artist have to be enrolled with a Federally Recognized Tribe? Does the artist have to be a certain percent Native American to identify as a ‘Native Artist’? Does the artist follow traditional technique? If a piece of art is more abstract, modern, or contemporary in style, does the piece still reflect traditional styles and methods? It is a subjective matter, but here at nativex.com we sell products that have been designed in someway (whether it be a print design, tee shirt graphic, etc) by an artist with Native American ancestry who sells to established Native American art galleries. Most of these artists will be enrolled with a Federally Recognized Tribe, but some won’t due to the cumbersome enrollment process. Each product page will give you the artist’s bio and heritage/background. Transparency is what we do!

After visiting with Bobbie, we drove to Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts where we met with Pat Walters, president and Melissa Bob, Interim Executive Director. They showed us their facilities and we were lucky to see the dynamic duo of Frank Janzen, master printer and his wife Marie printing lithographs.

“Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts is a nonprofit organization providing opportunities for Native Americans through artistic development. With an emphasis on contemporary, fine-art printmaking, Crow’s Shadow also functions as a venue to practice traditional Native American art practices — weaving, bead working and regalia making — of the Plateau region.”

“Renowned artist James Lavadour (Walla Walla) and friends created CSIA in 1992, with the idea of using art as a transformative tool within the Native American community. Just as art had changed and given new meaning to his own life, Lavadour wanted to create a place that would help others of American Indian heritage similarly realize the vocational potential of art.”

See the journey below:

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