2019 Creative Native Winners Announced

In 2018, the Center for Native American Youth launched its first ever Creative Native call for art, an art contest to support Indigenous artists ages 5-24 years old by providing them an opportunity to receive national recognition, funding for art supplies, and a $200 prize. This year, CNAY partnered with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), to provide the Call for Art opportunity and platform for Native artists to create and submit.

This year’s prompt focused on the upcoming 2020 Census and election cycle, asking youth to answer the prompt: I am a Native youth and I count. What does citizenship and sense of belonging mean to me?

CNAY and NCAI are proud and honored to announce the winners of each age category.

The grand prize winner will have their artwork featured on the cover of our annual State of Native Youth report and will attend the release event in November. Click here to learn more about each artist.

5-9 Years Old: Aydrian, 9 years old, Hochunk, Ojibwe, Odawa, Bodewadmi, & Lakota

My art piece is a lane stitch style beaded cuff and earrings set. I call it “Galaxy” because it looks like the Milky Way and all the stars in the sky. It’s made of my Mom’s leftover beads, she said there’s beads in there from my Grandma and Great Grandma too. I grew up knowing I belong to an awesome strong culture. We are the future and with our art we will make our people even stronger! “Galaxy” represents all our ancestors and it’s cool because I used 4 generations of beads just in one piece.

10-14 Years Old: Kailey, 14 years old, Colorado River Indian Tribes & Navajo

In my piece, I used the background to tell most of the story. I see it as the world and how it can be swallowing and dark, but as native youth, we can bring light and importance into a world where so many things are going on. In the girl’s face, she realizes her worth and she knows that she counts in the world even if there is darkness surrounding her. We need to realize our importance in order to have a light with us to help our community. We are courageous. We are resilient. My drawing represents all life and life, no matter the form, is sacred and has a purpose. I hope you like it!

15-19 Years Old: Joelle Joyner, 19 years old, Meherrin, Cherokee Nation, & Blackfeet

This is my original artwork of a Kauwets’a:ka woman who stands along the sea at night under a moon wearing traditional regalia. I use purple to represent the colors of the Haudenosaunee flag. She is standing near water because in Tuscarora, Kauwets’a:ka means “people of the water”. The moon is here because our calendar follows the lunar cycle. I gave her mixed Afro-Indigenous features to showcase that multi-racial peoples count as well in the native community. Many times, people who aren’t federally recognized feel as if they don’t count. The Meherrin aren’t federally recognized but we still count.

20-24 Years Old: Elizabeth Morgan, 22 years old, Kiowa Apache

This piece I named “Sisterhood” where they are wearing cloth dresses and an apron. Both sisters are facing each other. They speak of love, life, and good words. It shows their sisterly bond. Unmarried as shown by their unbound hair. This piece is a connection between past and present. That close sibling relationship. When you go to powwows and ceremonies. Growing up on those traditions you were raised with. Having that sense of belonging and self-awareness in where you come from. Knowing those songs, way of dress, culture and language.

In addition to having her work featured on the cover of CNAY’s 2019 State of Native Youth report, Elizabeth will be flown to Washington, DC to join CNAY for our report release event in November. There, Elizabeth will be acknowledged as an honored guest and serve as a youth panelist in a dialogue about Native youth priorities and why Native youth count for the 2020 Census and upcoming elections.

Contest submissions from other artists will be featured throughout this year’s report, as well as in CNAY’s 2020 Creative Native calendar. All submission from the 2019 Call for Art can be viewed online in the Creative Native Gallery here.