The Three Chiefs, For Unto Us a Child is Born
12" x 12", colored pencil on “For Unto Us a Child is Born”, music sheets from Handel’s Messiah, London cir. 1857, Beadwork, Acrylic and Oil on canvas

The mixed media technique is a combination of 1800’s ledger art, traditional Native American beadwork (appliqué) and contemporary representational Indigenous art.  The two music sheets applied as the foundation are from the Handel’s Messiah, London 1857

This piece is designed to portray the birth of Christ from the Native American perspective. The three chiefs are bearing red gifts to symbolize the blood of the people and the acknowledgement of the Holy Trinity.   

In the mainstream story, the Three Wiseman, or Magi, were from the east and came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.   Gift giving is a common practice among our people in light of a birth to the world.  With the Indigenous Northern Plains tribes, the birth of all life is sacred and children are believed to be holy and innocent.  The birth of the Christ Child announces salvation to man but the burden of one child’s life to change the world, belongs to all of us.  For unto us a child is born.

*Explanation of Ledger Art- it was a form of artistic expression which emerged in the mid 1800’s during a time of subjugation and assimilation of Indigenous tribes.  Referred to as warrior art, warriors would depict images on used ledger paper about such things as warfare, courtship, ceremony and daily life.  The original materials used were colored pencils and ledger paper.