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The People, The Human Beings

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Register to visit The People, The Human Beings at Amplify's Generator Space

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Open invitation from Unceded Artist Collective:

We would love to hear from any artist or cultural practitioner who identifies as Native American, Alaskan Native, or Indigenous interested in working collectively with other Native artists in the Omaha Metro. Click here, or email Nate Ruleaux (, to fill out a short survey and tell us more about yourself and what you do, join the collective, or have a conversation about arts and culture in Omaha.

1,934,408 people live in Nebraska, according to 2019 census data estimates. Of those 1,934,408, 1.1%, or about 20,000, identify as Native North American, people indigenous to this place and these lands of the Umónhon, Ponca, Pawnee, Otoe, Missouria, and Ioway. Of those 20,000, 3,000 live in a city that came to be called Omaha after a series of illegal coercive treaties fragmented cultural identities and land bases with state sanctioned violence, forced removal, and assimilationist policies.

Cultural erasure like that leaves its trace. For urban Natives working to reclaim language, land, and history, it sets in motion an ongoing, cyclical process of questioning Native positionality and sovereign identity. How do you learn to speak a language your parents haven’t spoken? How do you build a relationship with land held hostage by settler colonial concepts of ownership? How do you reclaim a history that has been written about and not with you?

The People, The Human Beings, organized by Unceded Artist Collective, approaches exhibition making as an invitation; a position from which to forge kinships, community, and collective power. Nathaniel Ruleaux, Sarah Rowe, and Steve Tamayo, come together to reconstitute and affirm a multiplicity of Native identities through large scale painting, photographic works, installation, and a collective practice of world building that gestures toward expanding Unceded Artist Collective’s membership. In opening itself up to a wide range of collaborative forms of making meaning, the exhibition’s physical and virtual sites become spaces for organizing, viewing, performing, discussing, surveying, and reimagining what lies ahead.

*Due to ongoing COVID-19 related public health concerns, viewings of The People, The Human Beings will be by appointment and limited to small groups of 5 people, or fewer, at a time. Please register here or email to schedule a time to visit outside of regular gallery appointment hours. Face masks are required.

About the Artists:

Unceded Artist Collective is a community and directory of Indigenous artists who live and create on the unceded land of the Umónhon & Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (aka the colonized Omaha Metro). While honoring the past and fighting for the future we seek to take, create and indigenize space for our underrepresented and overlooked relatives. With similar organizations across Turtle Island, Unceded Artist Collective was created to focus on our Omaha Metro community, and the talent that has been here and is still here. Wopila

Sarah Rowe is a multimedia artist based in Omaha, NE. Her work opens cross cultural dialogues by utilizing methods of painting, casting, fiber arts, performance, and Native American ceremony in unconventional ways. Rowe’s work is participatory, a call to action, and re-imagines traditional Native American symbology to fit the narrative of today’s global landscape. Rowe holds a BA in Studio Art from Webster University, studying in St. Louis, MO, and Vienna, Austria. She is of Lakota and Ponca descent.

Nathaniel Ruleaux is an artist currently located on unceded land of the Umónhon & Očhéthi Šakówiŋ in Nebraska. A member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, his work combines modern art with traditional indigenous imagery. He is a Culture Work Fellow for ArtStock in Omaha, and recently created work for the national Natives Vote 2020 campaign. In addition to creating visual art, he is a classically trained actor and educator. He received his MFA in Theatre from the University of Houston’s School of Theatre and Dance after receiving a BA in Theatre Performance at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Steve Tamayo draws upon his family history as a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe. His fine arts education (BFA from Sinte Gleska University), along with his cultural upbringing, have shaped him as an artist, historian, storyteller and dancer. Steve provides activities during his residencies that include art and regalia making, drumming, powwow dance demonstrations and lectures on the history, symbolism and meaning behind the Native customs and traditions.

Steve has considerable experience developing curricula and teaching both youth and adults, including work with the Native American Advocacy Program of South Dakota, Omaha Public Schools, Minnesota Humanities Council and Metropolitan Community College of Omaha. He also leads groups of students and teachers on cultural excursions on the Rosebud reservation, introducing them to the rich culture and way of life that is slowly being revived among native communities. He is a past Governor’s Heritage Art Award recipient, an honor bestowed for his contributions in the arts and Native American culture.

Tamayo has had work exhibited at The National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, DC, The Kaneko in Omaha, NE, The Great Plains Museum in Lincoln, NE, RNG Gallery in Council Bluffs, IA. His most recent work included painting buffalo robes and set design for Willie Nelson and Neil Young on the occasion of their concert for Bold Nebraska in Neligh, NE.

Amplify Arts is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to promote unity, innovation, and progress in the arts to build strong and vibrant communities. This exhibition is presented as a part of Amplify Arts’ Generator Grants program. The Generator Grants program lends space and support (financial and otherwise) to Omaha-area artists throughout the process of organizing, marketing, and mounting a curated exhibition outside the context of larger institutional systems.

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