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Gallery of Traditional Art

Traditional arts are objects made for everyday use by Indigenous communities that draw upon skills and knowledge passed down from time immemorial.  In a world of manufactured objects, it's hard to communicate how special traditional arts are.  Hand-made, usually from local materials, they are a connection between an Indigenous community and the landscapes of its homeland.  Made using techniques honed and passed down over the centuries, they are also a connection across generations.  Traditional arts tend to be connected to particularly threatened parts of Indigenous languages and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Ultimately, traditional artforms blend technology, function,  aesthetic, and relationships.


At Nan Awaya, we work in a number of deep traditional art forms.  The clay cooking pot in this photos is made in the style that was used by Choctaw ancestors in the 1600s.  It was made from hand-dug clay from the Choctaw homeland, mixed with burned, crushed freshwater mussel shells to keep it from cracking.  It was shaped by hand into an even, thin, lightweight form.  It was fired to between 1000 and 1200 degrees in a open bonfire using only the human senses to gauge the temperature.  Now, this thin, light weight vessel is used for cooking foods right on top of the fire, like the blackberry dumplings pictured here.  It cooks as efficiently as cast iron, and if properly cared for, it will last for years.  It connects with the Choctaw homeland and 100 generations of Choctaw potters.

Traditional arts have always been a part of our lives (especially for Ian). At Nan Awaya Farm, we make and use objects of traditional art in our efforts to revitalize Indigenous Choctaw culture.  We collect or grow most of our raw materials on-farm.  We work in ancestral Choctaw techniques and styles without directly copying old designs.  Every piece is fully functional. Through our day jobs, we've taught hundreds of traditional arts classes in the community for Choctaw Nation and have worked for years to revitalize a number of sleeping traditional arts.  Now, some of the students have become teachers.

In the galleries below, we'd like to share a few of the traditional arts that we make.  These pieces are not for sale.  We're sharing them here to draw awareness to these rare art forms.



Na Halupa copy.jpg
Pottery copy.jpg
Hunting copy.jpg
Engraving copy.jpg
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