Nanette Kelley

Osage Nation/Cherokee Nation 


Seeking opportunities in art, cultural, and natural history outreach and interpretation...  

Recently, Nanette received a commendation from the

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

"I write and direct stories based on culturally and regionally specific primary research, my deliverables are historically accurate interpretations suitable for educational use and posterity."

A lifelong traveler on the roads in-between, Nanette resides part time in her Osage and Cherokee homelands in Oklahoma and part time on California’s Redwood Coast (on unceded Wiyot territory) tending a very demanding flock of ducks. 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. "I grew up in my grandparent’s workspace; we mostly bought what we couldn’t make, grow, or hunt."

Her work includes culturally and regionally specific primary research materials and the result is historically accurate interpretation through a Traditional Ecological Knowledge lens. 


"I believe art and the environment are good, universal interpretative catalysts for peoples to tell their own cultural 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 works of art as language 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 an environmental and tribal cultural-conflict zone and working as the publicity chair for educational and environmental nonprofits provided her with a good understanding of direct political, cultural, and environmental Public Relations and community outreach.

Located in the town named after Osage Chief GRAH MOIE-- Claremore Oklahoma and due to Rogers State University’s location within her ancestral Osage territory, and where her Cherokee family settled after they walked the Trail of Tears, she chose RSU to complete a B.A. in Corporate Communications. Her study pertained to community outreach in radio, TV & video and the creation of regional Indigenous multimedia curriculum for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, media forms she continues to utilize as an educator in outreach programs today.

Currently, Nanette is finishing an Indigenous Education Master of Arts degree at the School of Social Transformation, Center for Indian Education program at Arizona State University. In addition, she's one of five Indigenous filmmakers chosen for the Bartow Project which premiered April 2022 and was recently one of 10 artists honored to be in the 2021 California Arts Council Administrators of Color Fellowship cohort. She is a professional member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), a contributing writer to Indian Country Today, Native News Online, and First American Art Magazine.

My Media: Primary Research Material, Art, and the Natural Environment

My Method: Sound Historical Interpretation

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