Rocky Mountain West

Community Voices

An Aaniinen (Gros Ventre) man with medium light skin, two long brains, and glasses wearing a yellow shirt.
Sean Chandler
Community Connector
A woman with long, dark hair, standing outside in the snow with her camera pointing to the sky.
Jessyca Valdez
Community Voice
Luella, a Crow woman wearing a red bandana, large shell earrings, a shawl and feathers poses in front of a sunset.
Luella Brien
Community Voice
Winona Runsabove
Community Voice
Kristina Lucero
Community Voice

Our Stories Our Art: Rocky Mountain West

Our Stories Our Art is a Magazine of the National Folklife Network that highlights writers who share and reflect on their folklife in the NFN’s seven regions.

Rocky Mountain West Foklife Network News

The Rocky Mountain West NFN cohort met in Billings, Montana from July 4-7, 2024 to learn more about the NFN, share about their home communities with the team, and vision together for the region’s future. We used the Western Heritage Center conference room to meet.

Pictured below (left) is Luella Brien showing the cohort an Elk Tooth Dress she’s making her daughter. (Right) are Sean, Kristina, Jessyca, Alisha, and Yolanda (English<>Spanish translator); Winona and Luella are not pictured.

Luella Brien holding an Elk Tooth Dress she's making her daughter. It has 20 rows of elk teeth on maroon fabric with a beaded neck and sleeves
Part of the NFN Cohort: Sean, Kristina, Jessyca, Alisha & Yolanda
Kristina, Alisha, and Sean pose for a photo at a dinner table

Visit Invisible in Plain Sight to learn about many Latine immigrant realities in Jackson Hole, WY. It features Jessyca’s photography coupled with immigrant stories.

In may 2024, Jessyca hosted seven art classes at Jackson Elementary School dedicated to Mother’s Day. Maestra (teacher) Celia Pérez taught the classes where children created beautiful ribbon flowers for their mothers.

“Last year, Mountain Time Arts (MTA) in partnership with Yellowstone National Park initiated Yellowstone Revealed, an immersive cultural and art exhibition within Yellowstone National Park in celebration of regional tribal nations.

This year, Mountain Time Arts is pleased to present a multi-faceted evolution of the Teepee Village from artists Sean Chandler (Aaniiih) and Ben Pease (Apsáalooke / Tsétsêhéstâhes).

This interactive self-guided experience will combine art and storytelling, taking visitors on a thought-provoking narrative journey about our shared past, present and future of teepee lodges sited where the Gibbon River joins the Firehole River to form the Madison River. The two artists’ contemporary artworks are installed in relationship and visual proximity to the traditional teepees on view at Yellowstone’s Madison Junction. The contemporary art installations put forward Indigenous truths and perspectives…” Read full article

A close up of the TeePee Village inside Yellowstone National Park
A close-up of Sean's painting on a teepee liner.
Sean standing in front of a teepee with his paintings on the liners.
A buffalo next to teepees set up for the art installation.

“Earlier this month I was involved with an installation of my work “When We Used To Be” for @mountaintimearts Yellowstone Revealed in @yellowstonenps ….My work (b&w tipi frames/liners) addressed how my people lived whole/fluently within our Indigenous Lifeways vs. today in an altered/un-whole controlled existence that we continue build within/upon ancestral framework. There’s more to that explanation but that’s good enough for now…I created two new paintings for this—“When We Used To Be” and “When We Became No One”… It was a great week working alongside Ben Pease and his installation of the multi-colored tipis.” —Sean Chandler