Joyce Nevaquaya Harris is Comanche. Deb Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. Joyce Nevaquaya Harris is an artist. Deb Haaland is a lawyer.
Joyce Nevaquaya Harris is an accomplished artist. Deb Haaland is the United States Secretary of the Interior.
Two successful Native American women.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Deb Haaland made history in March 2021 when she was confirmed as the Secretary of the Interior. She is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary.
The significance of Ms. Haaland’s confirmation cannot be overstated. A Native American woman is now in charge of the governmental agency once responsible for removing Native Americans from their homes and forcing their children to attend boarding schools designed to “assimilate” them into European – American society. A Native American woman is now in charge of the governmental agency that had to pay $3.4 billion in 2009 to settle a lawsuit alleging that the agency had mismanaged the Indian Trust accounts it had a duty to safeguard.
Joyce Nevaquaya Harris Creates Peace of Mind
Secretary Haaland recognizes the importance of her role as a Native American woman who is now in charge of the governmental agency that has oppressed Native Americans for over 150 years. In accepting President Biden’s nomination, she stated: “I’m a living testament to the failure of that horrific ideology.”
Secretary Haaland has a historic opportunity. As well as a weighty burden. As noted by Laguna Pueblo member Rachae Lorenzo in a June 30, 2021 New York Times article written by Elizabeth Williamson about Secretary Haaland, “I’m so excited about her. But it’s a little heartbreaking to hang all our hopes on one person.”
Joyce Nevaquaya Harris
Joyce Nevaquaya Harris is a self taught painter who lives in Oklahoma. In 2019, Ms. Harris painted Peace of Mind, a self portrait of her meditating. Ms. Nevaquaya described her painting in a May 10, 2021 article by Chad Scott in www.seegreatart: “I was sitting there, meditating, (it’s) how I was picturing myself and thinking of all the things in the world and just taking time out for myself…A lot of women, they have careers, jobs, and people to take care of…their families – and so that, to me, was the time that you sit down and for myself, sit, meditate and just be at peace; that’s what I painted.”
Peace of Mind certainly presents a tranquil scene, contrasting mellow blue colors with a small red flower and red hummingbird.
Peace of Mind arrives in Washington, D.C.
In the fall of 2020, the Department of the Interior purchased Peace of Mind. In the spring of 2021, a Department of the Interior employee called Joyce Nevaquaya Harris and told her that Peace of Mind was hanging in the office of Deb Haaland, the United States Secretary of the Interior.
Given Ms. Haaland’s many duties, as well as the expectations that have been placed on her shoulders, she could probably benefit from kicking back and relaxing with a small red flower and a small red hummingbird.
Peace of Mind, created by a busy Native American, could be just what the doctor ordered for another busy Native American woman.
WYLD Gallery has paintings by Joyce Nevaquaya Harris for sale on our website – www.wyld.gallery.