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MA Alumna Coordinates Native Arts & Culture Projects

Bridget Skenadore, MA '12

I am happy and excited to share with you the program I oversee at the American Indian College Fund located in Denver, CO where I am the Native Arts and Culture Projects Coordinator. The program I oversee is called the Restoration and Preservation of Traditional Native Arts and Knowledge Grant. I work with Tribal Colleges and Universities located in the upper-Midwestern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota as they help to preserve and restore lost or endangered lost or endangered Traditional Native Art forms.

Traditional Snowshoe Making at the College of Menominee Nation

This program is designed to increase the intergenerational transfer of artistic and cultural knowledge and processes from elders to adults and children. The project will allow direct support for Native Artists, who are the master artists, because they will be integrated into the programming as they will give feedback, help with the curriculum and help teach lessons. Students will also have the opportunity to become master artists as a few of them have been selected to become apprentices. As to date, the following Traditional Native Arts have been highlighted quillwork, hide tanning, horse effigy, traditional snowshoe making, birch bark basketry, birch bark canoe, moccasin making, and Traditional Dakota pottery.

Horse Effigy Workshop at United Tribes Technical College

In my position as coordinator of this grant at the American Indian College Fund, I have had the wonderful opportunity to visit several Tribal Colleges as they host their programs. I also get to visit as a participant because most of not all of these art forms are indeed new to me. Coordinating the Retoration and Preservation of Traditional Native Arts and Knowldge Grant has given me the opportunity to learn from the master artists, students and community members. The visits also give me the opportunity to observe and evaluate each project. I am extremely honored and humbled to be a part of this very important initiative.

Editor's Note: Bridget's MA thesis "Creating the Connection, Bridging the Gap and Maintaining the Relationship" is very directly connected to the work she is now carrying out at the American Indian College Fund.

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