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R.C. Gorman

Artist R.C. Gorman was born in Chinle, Arizona, on July 26, 1931. Descended from generations of Navajo craftsmen, holy men, and tribal leaders, he was encouraged by a teacher at a mission school to develop his talent for art. After several years in the US Navy, he attended Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University), but it was a visit to Mexico (1958) and then a year at the Mexico City College (now University of the Americas) that fixed his desire to be an artist.

After spending several years in San Francisco developing as a painter, he moved to Taos, NM. In 1965 he received a one-man exhibition in the Manchester Gallery there, and by 1968 his work was enjoying enough success that he bought the gallery, changed its name to Navajo Gallery, and began to exhibit and sell his own and other artists' work. The gallery was the first in the United States to be owned by a Native American. It remained for many years as his residence, studio, and gallery, where he was often present to deal personally with the growing numbers of other artists and the public who came by. From the 1970s, as his reputation spread throughout the USA and abroad, he moved on from working with oil, acrylic, and pastel to lithographs, ceramics, and occasional sculptures. Although he usually drew on SW Native American themes, he transformed them by his art into more universally significant, and aesthetic, subjects.

Reputed to be a genial, accessible man, known to be interested in food and cooking, and someone at home in the worlds of both his ancestors and international museums and academies, he is arguably the first Native American to be internationally recognized as a major American artist. Gorman died November 4, 2005, at a hospital in Albuquerque.


Pushmataha (1760s – December 24, 1824), the "Indian General", was one of the three regional chiefs of the major divisions of the Choctaw in the 19th century. Many historians considered him the "greatest of all Choctaw chiefs". Pushmataha was highly regarded among Native Americans, Europeans, and white Americans, for his skill and cunning in both war and diplomacy.

Rejecting the offers of alliance and reconquest proffered by Tecumseh, Pushmataha led the Choctaw to fight on the side of the United States in the War of 1812. He negotiated several treaties with the United States.

In 1824, he traveled to Washington to petition the Federal government against further cessions of Choctaw land; he met with John C. Calhoun and Marquis de Lafayette, and his portrait was painted by Charles Bird King. He died in the capital city and was buried with full military honors in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Ellison Myers Brown

Ellison Myers Brown (September 22, 1914 - August 23, 1975), widely known as Tarzan Brown, and Deerfoot amongst his people, was a two-time winner of the Boston Marathon in 1936 and 1939 . A member and direct descendant of the royal family of the Narragansett Indian tribe of Rhode Island, he also participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. He was scheduled to participate in the 1940 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, but these were canceled due to the outbreak of World War II. Tarzan Brown is still 1 of only 2 Native Americans to have won the Boston Marathon (the other was Thomas Longboat of the Onondaga Nation in 1907) and the only Native American to have more than 1 victory in Boston. He was inducted into the American Indian Hall of Fame in 1973.

Apesanahkwat is an enrolled member of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. He has been elected Tribal Chairman of his tribe 8 times, which is unprecedented. He served in the United States Marine Corps and is a Vietnam Combat Veteran. Apesanahkwat is widely considered by his peers to be one of the foremost knowledgeable originators of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which defined the Native Nations' involvement in National Gaming as we know it today.

Apesanahkwat exemplifies the attributes of a traditionalist, as well as a progressive activist who exists for the true empowerment of his people and their well-being. An experienced orator on the political and social nuances of the Native experience in America, he is also a motivational speaker promoting language, culture and native spirituality, as well as education, anti-gangs, anti-smoking, drugs and alcohol rehabilitation.

An accomplished actor, Apesanahkwat has appeared in films and starred in numerous television shows. Apesanahkwat is also a champion Northern Traditional Dancer who competes in powwows throughout the U.S. and Canada and he is a 2nd Degree Ogitchidaa (Warrior) of the Three Fires Midawin (Medicine Lodge) Society.

Charles Norman Shay

Charles Norman Shay (born June 27, 1924) is a Penobscot tribal elder, writer, and decorated veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. Along with a Bronze Star and Silver Star, Shay was also awarded the Legion d’Honneur, making him the first Indian in Maine with the distinction of French chavalier. He was instrumental in the re-publishing of a book by his own grandfather, Joseph Nicolar: The Life and Traditions of the Red Man, originally published in 1893. He has recently written an autobiography, Project Omaha Beach: The Life and Military Service of a Penobscot Indian Elder that details his time abroad in the military. Shay is also a direct descendant of Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin.
Dirk Whitebreast

Dirk Whitebreast, a member of the Sac & Fox of the Mississippi (Meskwaki Nation). In 2003, following the tragic suicide of his sister Darcy Jo Keahna, Dirk decided to take control of his life and become a healthier, stronger leader or his family, tribe and all of Indian Country. Dirk is an avid runner and in 2011 he ran 10 marathons in 30 days. He took the challenge of running 262 miles to both honor his sister and promote the Center for Native American Youth's mission to bring awareness to Native youth suicide.


For the Warriors who fight and Die...

so the rest of us may fight to Live.


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