WEST GLACIER, Mont. - This week, Glacier National Park started its first Native American Speaks Artist-in-Residence program.
The program hosts local tribal members Frank Finley, Valentina LaPier, and Leon Rattler and this will be the first time the park has hosted a residential artist program specifically for Native American artists.
In 1982 the Native American Speaks program started running, and it is now the longest-running indigenous speaker series in the National Park Service according to a release from Glacier National Park.
“These evening programs and cultural presentations provide opportunities for local tribal members to share their rich history and culture through singing, storytelling, presentations, and hands-on learning,” the release said. “The Native America Speaks Artist-in-Residence pilot program is an extension of the Native America Speaks program. The week-long residencies will highlight local Native American Artists, their artistic disciplines, and their culture.”
The following at the artist-in-residences that will be participating in the program:
Frank Finley (September 7 – September 12)
Frank Finley is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana and teaches Native American Studies at the Salish Kootenai College.
Frank’s program at the Apgar Amphitheater at 6:45 pm on September 9th, will be a combination of focusing on the place we call Glacier as a cultural resource and the historical activities of the Salish, Kootenai, Blackfeet People, and how it has shaped his art. He will showcase Indigenous concepts of time, place, and lifestyle in a meaningful way. The images and ideals Frank represents through his art are the starting point for a discussion of the Native Experience.
Valentina LaPier (September 14 – September 19)
Valentina LaPier is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator who works with the Blackfeet Nation, GNP and the Metis Community. She is a board member of the Michif Heritage Keepers and Friends of the Plains Indian Museum and a recipient of the 2012 Blackfoot Art Awards in recognition of her contributions to Blackfoot identity, pride, and inspiration.
Valentina’s program at the Apgar Amphitheater at 6:45 pm on September 17, will be an acrylics demonstration that shows how Blackfeet culture and warriorism resonates in her art. Valentina draws from the past to create a historical experience for the present.
Leon Rattler (September 21 – September 26)
Leon Rattler is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. Leon has 30 years of experience in American Indian Education, cultural curriculum development and tribal leadership. He is a member of many traditional societies including the Southern Blackfeet Crazy Dog Society. He is also a Sundance Leader, Beaver Bundle keeper, traditional artist and dancer, and Vietnam Veteran.
Leon’s program at the Apgar Amphitheater at 6:45 pm on September 22 will be an exploration of holistic healing through the arts. He will take the environmental surroundings and use social, emotional, physical, and mental awareness to connect the participants to the spirit of self. To Leon, art is where the earth meets the sky, the relationship with color, time of day, seasons, how it makes us feel, and how it heals us.