Visual Sovereignty: A Symposium on Contemporary Native American Art and Activism
Saturday, October 19, 9:30 AM – 5 PM

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 Knudson 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.

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. Knudson prize for emerging artists. For a full schedule of the day and list of speakers, visit


We Are Here : A Festival of Contemporary Native American Art 
Sunday, October 20, 11 AM 3 PM 

Join in the festivities in honor of two exhibitions, When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California  and  Pueblo Dynasties: Master Potters from Matriarchs to Contemporaries. People of all ages are invited to experience and celebrate Native American art, culture, and traditions during this afternoon of dancing, music, art demonstrations, hands-on activities, gallery interactives, and Native artisan marketplace.


Both events were made in partnership with members of the 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. They continue to assist us in appreciating and acknowledging the history and culture of local Native American communities.

Image: Frank LaPena, History of California Indians, c. 1990. 8 hand-colored lithographs, 28 x 17 in. (each panel). Collection of the Artist © Frank LaPena.