Write Around PAM: Dyani White Hawk

Dyani White Hawk (American and Sičangu Lakota, born 1976), Wówahokuŋkiya | Lead, from suite Takes Care of Them, 2019, screenprint and metallic foil, image: 44 in x 21 1/4 in; sheet: 55 3/8 in x 32 in, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Graphic Arts Council and the Native American Art Council. Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, 2020.5.1a

Dyani White Hawk’s suite Takes Care of Them was inspired by the Lakota practice of four veterans being asked to stand and face each of the four cardinal directions during the wabléniča ceremony, a ritual welcoming adoptees and formerly fostered individuals back into the tribal community. In many Native cultures, veterans are revered as modern-day warriors, including women who serve to lead and protect their community, but who also act as creators and nurturers. White Hawk wanted to recognize all the women in her life who embodied these qualities and taught her to be a good member of a family and community. “As a suite, these works speak to the importance of kinship roles and tribal structures that emphasize the necessity of extended family, tribal, and communal ties as meaningful and significant relationships necessary for the rearing of healthy and happy individuals and communities.”

For the first part of this year, the brilliant yellow print Wókaǧe | Create was on view in the 2nd floor Native American art galleries and inspired a Write Around PAM prompt. It’s now been replaced by the dark blue Wówahokuŋkiya | Lead, as we rotate through the entire suite. 

Think about the four words in White Hawk’s series:

lead, create, protect, nurture

Then, write for 5 minutes about a time in your life when you felt called on to do one or more of these things. (It could be very small or quite big.) 

Finally, write for 5 minutes about a time when someone else played one of these roles for you. 

Learn more about the creation of the series Takes Care of Them in this video.

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the year. Please share your work with us!  @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM @dwhitehawk

Related Content