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Nanette Kelley

Recently, Nanette received a commendation from the

California Legislature for "her participation in helping to create and preserve the cultural identities of all Californians."

A lifelong traveler on the roads in-between, Nanette resides part time on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma and also calls the California Redwood Coast (unceded Wiyot land) home. She likes to tell people, “My family never stopped migrating.”

Her life’s foundation in the arts predates her birth by generations of craftspeople who lived off the land from time immemorial including leathercrafters, woodworkers, and metalsmiths. Her work includes culturally and regionally specific primary research materials and the result is historically accurate interpretation through an Indigenous Knowledge lens. 

"I believe art and the environment are good, universal interpretative catalysts for peoples to tell their own stories."

Personal mentors such as China-born artist Hung Liu (social realism), Switzerland-born fine artist Lucienne Bloch (Diego Rivera’s assistant and paint specialist), and Vietnam-born multimedia/transdisciplinary artist, Anh-Thuy Nguyen (whose work highlights human relationships and cultural conflicts), although ethnically diverse, gave her an appreciation for art as a language of cultural history and contemporary stories, and not mere aesthetics.

A first-generation college student, Nanette completed her B.A. in Art with a Studio emphasis at Humboldt State University, California during the redwood timber wars and the tribal water wars. Immersed in a cultural conflict zone and working as the publicity chair for nonprofits provided her with a solid understanding of political, cultural, and environmental Public Relations and community engagement.

Located in the town named after Osage Chief GRAH MOIE within her ancestral Osage territory, and where the Cherokee side of her family settled after they walked the Trail of Tears, she completed a B.A. in Corporate Communications at Rogers State University. Her study pertained to community outreach in radio, TV & video, and the creation of regional multimedia curriculum for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, media she continues to utilize in education and outreach programs today.

Nanette's Indigenous Education M.A. studies, School of Social Transformation, Center for Indian Education program at Arizona State University, focused on equity, research, and community engagement. Her capstone project is an educational narrative, a novella, which will be published for use by university student recruitment and in the classroom.

In 2022, Nanette received a commendation from the California Legislature for "her participation in helping to create and preserve the cultural identities of all Californians." Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, she is one of five Indigenous filmmakers chosen for the Bartow Project about Rick Bartow (Wiyot) and was one of 10 cultural based artists selected for the 2021-2022 inaugural California Arts Council Administrators of Color Fellowship cohort. She is a professional member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), and a contributing writer to Indian Country Today, Native News Online, and First American Art Magazine.

Seeking opportunities in art, culture, and education

NAJA MembershipCard.jpg

Website Design: Nanette Kelley


Photo Credits Nanette Kelley (unless otherwise noted)

Other Photo Credits:

RSU Public TV photos credit: Bruce Hartley

Broadcaster's conference photo credit: Terry Monday

Pete Seeger Show photos credit: Kate Blalack

Historic Osage Occupation & Allan Houser photos: RSU PR

Portrait photo credit: Jessica Wagner

Ryan RedCorn & Nanette Kelley photo credit: Cathy Coomer

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