Visual Sovereignty: A Symposium on Contemporary Native American Art and Activism 

Saturday, October 19, 2019
9:30 AM – 5 PM

Register Online

Visual Sovereignty: A Symposium on Contemporary Native American Art and Activism will explore the complexities between Native and U.S. history and contemporary culture. From the struggle for self-definition to the use of art as a means of resistance and activism, the topics explored in this robust and divergent compilation of talks, panel discussions, and a film screening will demonstrate the role art plays as Native Americans assert their history; reestablish their power, culture, and authority; and define what it means to be contemporary and communal after generations of colonialist attacks and genocide.

The day-long forum will commence with a poetry reading by Vince LaPena, followed by a special presentation by UC Davis Professor Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie that will put the day in context. The morning will also include a panel discussion featuring artists and historians who consider how contemporary Native American art is reframed in a museum context and how artists use their art to address issues such as systemic racism and the crisis of climate change. In the afternoon, water rights will be examined through a short film and discussion, followed by a special presentation by Knudsen Award-winning artist Jamie Okuma. We’ll finish the day with a panel discussion on how artists and community leaders are using art to offer healing from the damage of our colonialist past and help the next generation of Native American artists and activists to remain resilient and assert their visual sovereignty.

For a detailed schedule of events, click HERE.

This symposium is offered in conjunction with exhibitions Pueblo Dynasties: Master Potters from Matriarchs to Contemporaries and When I Remember, I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California. The day will begin with an indigenous tea welcome and end with a reception featuring Native ciders. Buffet lunch may be pre-purchased. A sneak peak of the exhibition When I Remember, I See Red will be available for attendees during the lunch break and following the reception, in advance of exhibition’s public opening the following day.

Speakers include artist and scholar Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie; curator Mark Johnson; artist Geri Montano; artist and Karuk language scholar Julian Lang; Tribal Policy Advisor for the Department of Water Resources Anecita Agustinez; and fashion artist Jamie Okuma, winner of the Crocker’s John S. Knudsen prize for emerging artists. More information about the speakers is available on our blog, the Oculus.

This program was developed in partnership with members of a Native American Advisory Committee: Sigrid Benson, Jacklyn Calanchini, Gabe Cayton, James Allen Crouch, Cheewa James, and Christina Prairie Chicken Narvaez. The committee was instrumental in planning the programs, finding funding sources, and reaching out to tribal members and communities. We are appreciative of their help in ensuring a fuller understanding of the history and culture of local Native American communities.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit


$60 members
$70 nonmembers
With lunch: $80 members
With lunch: $90 nonmembers

Register by clicking the REGISTER button above or visit the Museum Admission Desk.

Parking at the Crocker can be impacted during large events. To ensure an easy parking experience during your visit, we suggest using street parking (metered) on 3rd Street, Front Street, or N Street to avoid City of Sacramento parking lot congestion. Smartphone users can also download the ParkMobile app to find and pay for parking. The Museum is also easily accessible by Sacramento Regional Transit’s Light Rail. Stops at 8th & O streets and at 8th & K streets are the closest.

If your parking experience does not meet expectations, please email

Rick Bartow, Fire III (Rain of Fire Coming, Last One Standing), 2004. Pastel, gouache, tempera, aqueous media, graphite on paper, 40 x 26 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of the Rick Bartow Estate.


Virtual Art Rx

Designed for people for people living with chronic pain, their family, friends, and caregivers.

Learn More

The Official Rogue Book Club

Discover book recommendations, writers, and fellow cultural connoisseurs!

Learn More

BNSA and Art Auction

Art Auction Season 2020 is now online!

Learn More