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Previous American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month Posters

The USDA NRCS annually recognizes and celebrates the many different cultures to which we have the opportunity to offer our services and programs, including American Indians. November is designated as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This provides an opportunity to make people aware of the history of American Indians and Alaska Natives and their contributions to the world.


2019 American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month Poster

2019 NRCS AIH poster
The winner of the 2019 American Indian Heritage poster was Kathy Sturch, of Durant, Oklahoma. Sturch is a member of the Choctaw Nation. Sturch stated, “Art is a way of expressing my American Indian culture on canvas and it was an honor to enter the contest.” The NRCS selected Kathy’s artwork titled “Water for Life” as the National Native American Poster.

Click poster at left to enlarge.

The theme for the poster was, “Water for Life:  We teach our children to respect and preserve natural resources because they hold in their hands the future of a healthy and thriving nation." Sturch shared her inspiration for the artwork, “I believe human beings are charged with the care of this earth we inhabit, to nurture it, care for it, and to treat it as the gift to us that it is.  Preserving and taking care of the resources of this earth is necessary for survival for our children and their children. Teaching our children to care about and take care of these resources is part of our responsibility as wise people. Native Americans have always respected the earth and her resources and we must continue to do so.”

“The posters are showcased in every NRCS office across the Nation and a copy is provided to all the Tribes across the Nation. These posters honor the conservation work of Indian tribes to protect their natural resources and their vision for future generations. NRCS has a strong working relationship with Tribes and we are honored to assist them with technical assistance and programs to enhance their efforts to preserve their lands,” stated Dr. Carol Crouch, NRCS Oklahoma State Tribal Liaison.
 


2018 American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month Poster

AIAN poster-2018
Photo at left: Francine Tohannie’s winning artwork displayed in the poster format that will be available from NRCS to celebrate American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. (Click photo to enlarge.)

One of the ways NRCS nationally celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month is by distributing a poster created by an American Indian artist. Each year, an artist in a selected state has the opportunity to exhibit his/her talents and heritage on a national level, and Nevada was chosen as that state for 2018. Of 13 submittals from across the state from a variety of Tribal members, Francine Tohannie’s stunning artwork, titled “Burden Basket,” won the top honor and a $2,000 award.

American Indian artists from Nevada Tribes were invited to create an original painting that reflects the artist’s interpretation of American Indian culture and heritage with the title: “Mountain Islands and Sagebrush Seas,” and the theme: “Creating resilient landscapes through an understanding of heritage, culture and conservation."

AIAN poster 2018 presentation

Photo at right: (From left to right) Patti Novak-Echenique, NRCS Nevada American Indian/Alaska Native Special Emphasis Program Manager and Nevada State Rangeland Management Specialist; Francine Tohannie, winning artist; and Ray Dotson, Nevada NRCS State Conservationist display the winning artwork. (Click photo to enlarge.)

“I wanted to illustrate the beauty of Nevada mountains, sagebrush, sky and the Indian paintbrush plant by mixing vibrant hues. My painting ties into the title and theme with a traditional ‘Burden Basket,’ made and used by the Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone people,” said Tohannie, a member of the Te-Moak Shoshone from Fallon. “The painting shows the resilience of the land and what it has offered to our ancestors, that we still use and teach today. From sagebrush bark, they made clothing and shoes, houses, rope. From the willow, they made intricate baskets and utensils.”

Tohannie’s work emphasizes conservation, symbolized by the new sprouting sagebrush in the foreground of the artwork. Preservation of the landscapes and native plants are important as well. With the empty Burden Basket, she shares a call to action for all of us: “pick it up and get to work, it needs to be filled.”