The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) announced today three recipients for the 2021 Native American Artist-in-Residence program. This is the sixth year of the program which is designed to help revitalize traditional forms of Native American art. Artists will serve a six-month paid residency to study the collections at MNHS and other institutions to aid in a better understanding of their cultural art forms. Residents will share this knowledge by developing community-based programming in their home communities, as well as with the public at large.
The 2021 Awardees are:
Jennie Kappenman is a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. She lives in Brooklyn Park.
Kappenman is a beadwork and visual artist, and a seamstress. She will use her residency to study the evolution, style and construction of Ojibwe jingle dresses from the 1920s to the present day. She hopes to instruct future apprentices and students on the etiquette, responsibility and process of making a jingle dress. She has helped Ojibwe and Dakota people create their own regalia and is passionate about sharing her knowledge, “The skill and confidence of creating a garment and sharing it with loved ones and community has been the joy of my artistic practice. Having space, time and support to continue to pass along teachings is an important part of our society and is the groundwork to our cultural identity.”
Mat Pendleton is a member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community of the Mdewakanton Dakota (Cansa’yapi). He lives on the tribal reservation in Redwood County.
Pendleton plans to use his residency to construct a can wáta (a Dakota dugout canoe) and birchbark canoe. He brings experience as an artist to the process of canoe crafting and hopes to apply quillwork to birchbark canoes.
As director of recreation for Cansa’yapi, Pendleton “sees the need for a space to connect youth with art and traditional canoe knowledge, environmental protection and Dakota justice movements.” His long term vision is to establish a canoe camp to reconnect his community with other Dakota communities along the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.
As a community project, Pendleton hopes to hold a launching ceremony for the birch bark canoe at Bde Maka Ska. Jacob Bernier, Red River Metis descendant, will serve as a consultant for the project. Bernier has expertise and experience in researching traditional Indigenous watercraft practices and is passionate about revitalizing these forms for future generations.
LaVerne Whitebear is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes. She lives on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Lake Traverse Reservation.
Whitebear is an ipatapi (quillwork) artist and says, “I practice the quillwork style commonly known as ‘embroidery’ where the quills are used to develop a design which is a story. I prefer to create in a ‘traditional’ manner, attempting to stay in line with the way I feel our ancestors would have. The items I create take time and patience; my heart goes into each stitch always being mindful to show respect for the animals who gave their lives so that I may make these things.”
Whitebear is passionate about working with her community on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate reservation and plans to create a manual for historical methods of quillwork, such as making traditional dyes and colors with regional plants and elements.
In addition to the residencies, three Encouragement Grants have been awarded to support artists to continue with their cultural arts and research. The grants consist of a stipend and a paid research visit to MNHS collections. The 2021 Encouragement Grant awardees are Fern Cloud of the Upper Sioux Indian Community and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Alyss Mountain of the Red Lake Nation, and Liandra Skenandore of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.
The 2021 Artists-in-Residence were selected based on the recommendations of a panel consisting of experts in the field of Native arts, culture and education.
The Native American Artist-in-Residence program is made possible in part by a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.