Protect the Sacred: Native Artists for Standing Rock

Protect the Sacred  digital collage by Asia Tail

Protect the Sacred digital collage by Asia Tail


Spaceworks Gallery, 950 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA

December 31st - February 16th, 2016

The Opening Reception, January 19th, featured a blessing by Connie McCloud (Puyallup), live performance art by Christine Babic (Chugach Alutiiq), and poetry by Sara Marie Ortiz (Pueblo of Acoma), EJ Sweetly (Comanche), and Erin Tail (Lakota/Northern Cheyenne/Cherokee). 

About the Exhibition

Protect the Sacred gives voice to the diverse Urban Indian community of this region. As Native artists, we reject externally constructed expectations for people of color, who are often confined by the recognition of their ethnicity in the mainstream art world. This exhibition empowers Indigenous artists to represent themselves, whether in traditional or contemporary contexts. Through our work, we hope to showcase the complexity of our cultures and identities, and broaden perceptions of Native American art.

Although the water protectors achieved an incredible victory with the permit denial, the fight is not over. So close to the inauguration, it is more urgent than ever to protect Native lands, rights, and sovereignty for future generations. 

Exhibition curated by Asia Tail (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma)



Natasha Alphonse (Denesuline)

Christine Babic (Chugach Alutiiq)

Natalie M. Ball (Klamath/Modoc)

Peter Boome (Upper Skagit)

Bradley Castillo (Osage)

Anthony Duenas (Puyallup)

Alano Edzerza (Tahltan)

Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath/Modoc)

Ryan Feddersen (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation)

Lisa Fruichantie (Seminole)

Yatika Starr Fields (Cherokee/Creek/Osage)

Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton)

Samuel Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton)

Raven Juarez (Blackfeet)

Linley Logan (Seneca)

Geri Montano (Dineh/Comanche)

Marvin Oliver (Quinault/Isleta-Pueblo)

Shaun Peterson (Puyallup)

Cheyenne Randall (Cheyenne River Sioux)

Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos)

Fox Anthony Spears (Karuk)

Lisa Telford (Haida)

Haley Waddington (Haida)

Matika Wilbur (Swinomish/Tulalip)

Melissa Woodrow (Wuksachi Band of Western Mono and Chicana)

and more!


BIG thank yous to hello, cupcakeCourtyard Marriott Tacoma DowntownSpaceworks TacomaMad Hat Tea Company, and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians for their support!

Fundraising Report

The show opened with a series of performances in January and closed with an all-Native art market in February. During the course of the exhibition, over 700 people visited the gallery, and we were honored to receive some local and national press. The work of 35 Native artists, vendors, and performers was featured, representing tribal affiliations from across the country.

Through donations and a portion of artwork sales, we raised nearly $3,000. The money will go to support the ongoing legal battle against the DAPL and to help pay legal fees for arrested water protectors. We contributed to the following funds: