Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Áakiiwilaxpaake (People of the Earth)

Photo: Scott Leen

Áakiiwilaxpaake (People of the Earth)


Wendy Red Star

Native American, Apsáalooke/Crow, born 1981

Stories are embedded in our DNA and our ancestry, all the stories that our ancestors carried and that we possess in our bodies. I think everyone that we take a portrait of [for this project] carries these amazing and important stories; they represent those voices in this work. ---Wendy Red Star
Native people—their histories and stories—have largely been excluded from the American art canon. Red Star examines past artworks and historical documents in order to question this exclusion and to reinsert Native voices into the making of an inclusive, nuanced, collaborative version of American art history. Using layers of visual information for this artwork, including Japanese artist Yoshida Hiroshi’s (1876‒1950) woodblock print of Mount Tahoma (Rainier) from SAM’s collection (2004.21) as the backdrop, the artist reimagines the Seattle skyline as being activated by portraits, taken specifically for this project, of Indigenous women and children from the Seattle region, honoring the humanity and resilience of their collective and personal stories.

First row
Tallou Kankanton and Ahnu Zaiyari Kankanton Munoz
Second row
Leanne Rye Brock and Montana Brock Tinner, Lisa Wilson McCaul, Megan Castillo, Nitalusa Angelova, Helen Beauty Sekaquaptewa, Isabella Rice, Kynoah Eule, Archer Rice
Third row
Kari Karsten, Jennifer A. Brown, Epiphany Couch, Naomi McCaul, Georgia Erickson, Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova, Jalissa Rice, Tala Brown, Tavi McCaul, Sunset Eule
Fourth row
Shannon Morrison, Anja Littlecreek, Olivia Vann (tse go ne la), Reed Von Sekaquaptewa, Sophia Vann (tse a nv ni), Diane Pebeahsy, Carmen Selam, Sally Bruhn, Denise Stiffarm, Tiarraray Square, Nashoba Angelov
Tribal nations represented in this project:
Aaniiih (White Clay), Dena’ina, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Chahta (Choctaw), Seminole, Tlingit, Cherokee, The Sac and Fox Nation, 14 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Numunuu (Comanche), Hopi, Diné (Navajo), Mvskoke, Chickasaw, Spuyaləpabš (Puyallup), Apsáalooke, Eastern Shawnee of Oklahoma, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Seneca Nation
Archival inkjet prints, Dibond, LED lights, electrical components, wood, milk plexiglass
84 x 62 x 12 in. (213.4 x 157.5 x 30.5 cm)
Bruce Leven Acquisition Fund
Provenance: Commissioned from the artist by Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2022
Photo: Scott Leen
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, American Art: The Stories We Carry, Oct. 20, 2022 - ongoing.
Published ReferencesPierce, Jerald. "These 5 exhibitions are worth exploring during Native American Heritage Month." The Seattle Times, Weekend Plus, Oct. 28, 2022: p. 6.

Pierce, Jerald. "Re-imagining American art: Seattle Art Museum offers a more expansive, inclusive look at U.S. art." The Seattle Times, The Mix E5, October 30, 2022: reproduced. [A version of this article appears online on October 25 with the headline: “How Seattle Art Museum is working to make its American art galleries more inclusive,”]

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM