Nanette Kelley

Osage Nation/Cherokee Nation

Seeking opportunities in art, cultural, and natural history


A lifelong traveler on the roads in-between, I reside part time in my 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. I like to tell people, “My family never stopped migrating.”

My media is primary research, both traditional and Western materials, and the natural environment. My method is historical interpretation through a Traditional Ecological Knowledge lens.


Personal mentors such as China-born artist Hung Liu (social realism), Switzerland-born fine artist Lucienne Bloch and Bulgarian-born Stephen Pope Dimitroff (Diego Rivera’s fresco paint mixer and wall plaster engineer/famed fresco maker team), Tsnungwe citizen Robert Benson (water-colorist), and Vietnam-born multimedia/transdisciplinary artist, Anh-Thuy Nguyen (whose work highlights human relationships and cultural conflicts) although ethnically and politically diverse, gave me an appreciation for works of art as language and not mere aesthetics. I believe art and the environment can be good, universal interpretative catalysts for underrepresented peoples to tell their own cultural histories.

A first generation college student, I completed my first B.A. in Art with a Studio emphasis at Humboldt State University, California during the great redwood “timber wars” to save the old-growth and the tribal “water wars” to save the salmon. Immersed in an environmental and tribal cultural-conflict zone and working as the publicity chair for educational and environmental nonprofits provided me with a good mindset in direct political, cultural, and environmental Public Relations.

Due to Rogers State University’s location within our ancestral Osage band territory, the town named after Osage Chief GRAH MOIE (Claremore) Oklahoma, also where my Cherokee family settled after they walked the Trail of Tears, I chose RSU to complete my second B.A. in Corporate Communications. My study emphasis pertained to Public Relations, community outreach, and the creation of regional Indigenous themed educational learning stations paired with public school curriculum for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

I am honored to be one of 10 artists in the state of California chosen for the 2021 California Arts Council Administrators of Color Fellowship, my host organization is the Ink People center for the Arts. Currently, I am a graduate student in the School of Social Transformation and the Center for Indian Education program, Master of Arts in Indigenous Education at Arizona State University (online). In addition. I am 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