2021 Native Creative Development Program Grant Recipients

The Native Creative Development Program™ awarded by the Longhouse helps Native artists purchase the resources they need for individual artistic development. Artists propose a project that can be completed in one year. The Longhouse advisory board comprised of Native artists and scholars select the recipients for each year. Application forms are available in August and due October 10 of each calendar year. 

Grant Winners

KAYLENE BIG KNIFE grant recipient art

Kaylene Big Knife

From the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation located in northcentral Montana. She is a graphic designer and a digital illustrator with a love for comic art, storybooks, and Cree language revitalization and documentation. Her project is to create three custom designs in Adobe Illustrator for metal pendants and acrylic earrings, as well a wood panel art using heat transfer vinyl while traveling to to art and craft markets.

Beaded bag and jewelry native art

Valda Evening Smith

A Shoshone Bannock artist from Pocatello, Idaho. She is a master elder beader whose project is to make one of the oldest forms of Native American Women’s Northern Traditional Dance regalia handcrafted buckskin dress, decorated with intricate tradition bead design. The Northern dress will be fulling beaded on shoulders, accented with fringed shawls, breastplates made from hair bone pipes and glass beads that can hang to the waist. Additionally, she makes hand-beaded hair barrettes and moccasins that are fully beaded with beaded leggings.

woven planter basket art

Shawn Brigman

A Plateau implement maker and member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. A traditional artist his creative practice has been based on celebrating the physical revival of ancestral Plateau art through architectural heritage such as creating structures like tule mat lodges pit houses and bark sturgeon-nose canoes. His project will be making a full-scale interior Plateau salon net of 16-foot length made entirely from spitsn (dogbane)cordage. The project will include harvesting large quantities of raw material and may take multiple years to acquire enough material to complete the dogbane cordage.

Native feather-work traditional art

Lionel D. George

is Master traditional artist of both the Yakama Nation and Confederated Tribes of the Colville who will serve as a Master/ Apprentice collaboration teaching traditional methods of beadwork, drum making, feather work, bustles, rattles, and dance sticks. His project will be to work with one apprentice to prepare, process and restore previously constructed regalia that includes collecting eagle and hawk feathers with great care and understanding for the respect and kinship to the animal world and traditional use in dancing. 

Native woven basket art

Mary Jane Ides

A Makah Tribal weaver, jewelry maker and educator who lives in Seattle, Washington who has been weaving most of her life. Her weaving practice will expand to an older utilitarian style of smaller wrapped twine pieces of basketry in a style of the later 1800s and early 1900s. This project allows her to expand on a specific design and traditional techniques that involves processing swamp grasses, switching colors and developing tighter weaving patterns. Using traditional materials of swamp grass involves a deeper understanding of gathering and processing natural materials that can only be gathered at specific times of the year and must be picked at the right time for weaving.

Native Beaded Moccasin art

Wetalu "Lulu" Rodriguez

is an Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) artist and cultural bearer of traditional practices from Wallowa Band in Oregon and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. She currently resides in Lapwai, Idaho and practices bead work, sewing, powwow dance and is a seasoned women’s fancy dance in traditional powwow circle. Her project will include handcrafting and teaching artmaking of wearable pieces such as beaded earrings, hat brims, necklaces and basic seamed appliqued ribbon skirts and wing dresses with her Nez Perce and Warm Springs Tribal community. She offerings cultural teachings and protocol dance classes to younger children with an emphasis on the history and story behind each dance and song. She will teach the young girls to make a fancy shawl, jingle, and traditional regalia as well as young boy’s fancy, grass, and traditional regalia which will be showcased at the annual summer cultural celebration.

Native Beaded Textile Art

Denita Santos

A traditional Coast Salish wool cedar and wool textile artist who resides in Suquamish, Washington. A Suquamish Tribal member she incorporates cultural teachings with song, stories in making her ceremonial regalia. She will be making four weavings utilizing 100% natural wool blanket and skirts for the “Legends” exhibit at her tribal museum. She is honored to make the blanket of sləhal which will include two twined panels on both sides of the blanket, the left side of animals and the right side of humans. The blanket will be twilled in a chevron weave with half black wool and half red wool to show the balance of spirit powers amongst our people.

Digital Art

Jon Olney Shellenberger

A Yakama Tribal illustrator who lives in Toppenish, Washington. His project will develop several illustrations from a most well-known Yakama legend, ""The Origin of Celilo Falls" with hope of being showcased at an art exhibit and a future collection of illustrations into a book. Celilo Falls is an ancestral fishing village in his territory and his art incorporates visual cultural significance of the Yakama people. One rendition portrays a oral story that was recorded in the mid to late 20th century which will serve as one of the main visual voice for the exhibit.

Native Fur Art

Heather Metrokin

A Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak Alaska lives in Spokane, Washington. Her project will provide the opportunity to gain traditional knowledge, study ancestral embroidered and appliqued pieces, use the information gained to create new art, and pass on the traditional knowledge gained by teaching others in my community. She will travel to her homelands to study embroidered and appliqued ancestral pieces located in the Anchorage Art Museum, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alutiiq Museum and the Kodiak Museum to learn techniques and designs. It is her desire to expand her traditional Alutiiq skin sewing technique too.