Cecilia Fire Thunder gave this talk at the Plains Art Museum because four of the (very meaningful) dolls she makes are part of the Waasamoo-Beshizi exhibition. Cecilia says making the dolls is part of healing for her, and she talks about her life, accomplishments, and the things she needed to heal from. Relocated from Pine Ridge to Los Angeles as a child with her family, as part of an assimilation effort, she began as a nurse and went on to an interesting, activist career in health care. She returned to Pine Ridge as an adult and ended up doing a controversial turn as Tribal Chair. All of this goes into her dolls.
(Scroll down to hear the full talk.)
From the Plains Art Museum:
Waasamoo-Beshizi (Power-Lines) is a group exhibition featuring work by 25 contemporary Ojibwe, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Eastern Band Cherokee, Seneca, Cree / Flathead, and Ponca women artists. The exhibition recognizes Native women artists as central contributors, shapers, and culture bearers within Native communities and within the narrative of contemporary art.
Waasamoo-Beshizi celebrates the connections Native women have to each other and the intergenerational passage of knowledge through visual art and tradition. The title of this exhibition is inspired by powerlines and transmission towers, whose shapes are reminiscent of dresses. Many exhibiting artists engage with weaving, clothing, and textile traditions while reflecting on culture and identity. Clothing can both hide and reveal something about the wearer, can reflect individual and cultural identity, and can celebrate, honor, and remember.