I made a painting of an Indian maiden and wanted to know if it is acceptable to the Native American culture and that it does not offend anyone. I have a friend who lived on a res and said it was okay, but I want to be sure. It is based off of Arizona.

I’m glad you asked this question,

Auntie and Uncle asked me as a Diné artist to respond to your question.

Please continue to take these precautions and ask these questions, as an artist interested in another culture’s traditional art work. Good to hear that you have respect for other Native cultures, and as a Native artist there are several things to be aware of.

For some tribes, there are traditional and spiritual restrictions for people outside of their tribe to take on artforms that took a life time to learn or even to be “initiated” to be able to practice or make specific works of art. And in some circumstances some tribes believe doing this without permission will affect the person in the future. So knowing that, it would not be very respectful to somewhat “jump in” and pick it up without having the history or credentials to create such work.

I hope this was helpful, good luck, and continue to be creative.

Cousin Corey

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