The Chickasaw Nation is a prominent community originating from the southeastern United States. Historically, they settled in what is now known as Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The community was heavily impacted by the Indian Removal Act of 1830, when President Andrew Jackson allowed its members to be forcefully moved to what is now the State of Oklahoma against their will. This forced march along what is now known as the Trail of Tears inflicted much suffering and death on the Chickasaw people.
Shortly after the forced removal, homes were rebuilt, and communities and businesses were re-established. A governor was chosen, rather than a chief, to serve as the supreme executive power. The Chickasaw Nation created its constitution in 1856. The constitution created a system of government with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The tribal government was dissolved in 1906 in preparation for Oklahoma Statehood.
Following Oklahoma Statehood, the Chickasaw began the process of reaffirming the right of self-governance. The 1983 Chickasaw Nation Constitution reestablished the three-department system of government.
The Chickasaw Nation has thrived and survived over time – currently flourishing with over 56,000 citizens in Oklahoma alone. In recent years, the Chickasaw has reclaimed part of its ancient homeland through its many diverse businesses, such as healthcare delivery systems, casinos, and cultural activities in accordance with the United States government policies that safeguard tribal sovereignty.
WYLD Gallery is proud to feature art by Chickasaw artists, including Billy Hensley, Dustin Mater, Natalie Miller, and Larry Carter.
Billy Hensley lives in Oklahoma. Much of his work incorporates narrow stripes and grid patterns. My Own Burial is an acrylic on canvas painting that incorporates a garfish image. The garfish is a sacred fish to the Chickasaw. My Own Burial was included in “Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art”, an exhibition that traveled across the United States.
Dustin Mater works with the Chickasaw Nation as the Graphic Arts Coordinator for the Humanities Division. He creates art in a variety of styles that include interpreting the Muskogean sky pattern, ledger art, and comic art. Shutik II is an acrylic on canvas painting that depicts a Muskogean sky pattern in sunset colors.
Natalie Miller lives in Oklahoma. She is best known for her vibrant use of color on canvas. He work explores linear abstractions, bold color combinations, and the playful collision of geometric forms. Colliding Stars is a 36 x 36″ acrylic on canvas that Natalie painted in 2020.
Larry Carter works for the University of Oklahoma. He specializes in dense, thick oil on canvas pieces with images that are accessible but also allow for interpretation by the viewer. Only Four Returned is a 20 x 24″ oil on canvas that Larry painted in 2019.