In 1986 Andy Warhol debuted Cowboys and Indians, a series of prints showcasing Native American imagery as well as notable Native American characters and historical figures alongside well-known, romanticized “American Heroes”. In Warhol’s ahistorical depiction of the American West, Apache Native, Geronimo, coexists with Rough Rider, Teddy Roosevelt. Thirty years after Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians series confronted the public with the historical fiction of the old west, the Andy Warhol Foundation awarded The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School two grants totaling $75,000 and the opportunity to use their own art to represent and speak for themselves.
The grants will fund the development and preservation of the center’s upcoming exhibit “Horse Nation of the Ochethi Sakowin.” The exhibit will explore the cultural and spiritual importance of the significance of the horse to the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nation. The Heritage Center is inviting other artists in the Ochethi Sakowin community to submit their own art for the exhibition.
The film “We Are a Horse Nation,” co-directed by Lakota artist Keith BraveHeart, inspired the visual art exhibition that the grant funds. “As a Lakota person, I want to see [Native American] identities be presented with respect for the reality that we still exist among the world,” Braveheart said. “We exist as more than the stereotypical negative statistics and over-romanticized cliches that most of the world envisions of us.”