Author Bio

Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota) is President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund. Cheryl is an Indigenous education activist promoting access, success, and equity for all Native students. Her expertise is with tribally-controlled higher education, indigenous leadership, and analysis and dissemination of the contributions of Indigenous people to American society. CCrazyBull@collegefund.org

Colleen “Co” Carew (Mescalero Apache descendent), is the past department chair for the accredited Social Work Program at the Salish Kootenai college. She is a faculty member at Salish Kootenai College, instructing courses in social work, art, and Native American studies. Currently, she leads weekend workshops for Native American adults and youth, in many of Montana’s tribal communities. She promotes wellness and healing through art making and the stories embedded in the artwork. co_carew@skc.edu

Bridget Skenadore (Navajo/Dine) is the Project Officer of Native Arts and Culture at the American Indian College Fund (Denver, CO). Bridget is an arts education advocate and is currently focusing on traditional Native arts and the cultural and historical significance of preserving and restoring art forms back to Native communities. In addition, Bridget is a practicing artist who specializes in watercolor painting and gaining further knowledge and skills in Navajo rug weaving. BSkenadore@collegefund.org


This commentary discusses the American Indian College Fund and Tribal College and Universities’ support of Indigenous arts as critical to cultural identity and place-based experiences for Native people. Indigenous arts are deeply rooted in connections to shared Indigenous values of kinship, relationship to all living and non-living things, language, and the land. In the United States, hundreds of Tribes have art forms that emerge from place, from interpretation of Tribal knowledge, and which meet the everyday, human needs of beauty, usefulness, and connectedness. Our right as humans to preserve and revitalize traditional and contemporary Native arts supporting our cultural identities and distinctiveness has existed since time immemorial. These rights honor the natural laws that existed prior to the creation of political or nation-state laws.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.