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Red Earth Festival held; artists honored for work

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Red Earth Festival
Red Earth Festival
Red Earth Festival
Red Earth Festival

Many gathered for Native American art, diversity and culture at the 34th annual Red Earth Festival at the Grand Casino Hotel Resort over Labor Day weekend. 

According to Red Earth Communications Director Eric Oesch, the organization was honored to hold the festival in Shawnee after it was postponed for three months due to COVID-19. 

“As a non-profit organization the mission of Red Earth is to provide Native artists an outlet to sell their art to the public and make a living,” Oesch said. “Artists traveled from throughout the state and surrounding states to be at Red Earth and  the artwork they offered for sale was outstanding.” 

Oesch said attendance was down because of the pandemic, but artists felt many people enjoyed their work.

“Many reported that this was one of the best, if not the best, years for sales they’ve ever had at Red Earth,” Oesch said. “We fully expect to return to our normal attendance numbers in future years.” 

Oesch said the best part of the event was the venue and he said the Grand Casino Hotel Resort was a great location for the festival.

“The facility is beautiful, the staff worked overtime to make the event a success and the reception we received from the City of Shawnee and the folks who live in Shawnee was amazing,” Oesch said.

The communications director said there were several Shawnee volunteers who helped with the event.

Oesch said Nelda Schrupp, from Lakota, North Dakota, has been named recipient of the 2020 Red Earth Honor One Award.  

Several artists also won awards and the winners are as follows: 

2020 Dana & Terry Brown Grand Award Winner (Best of Show)

Lauretta Newby-Coker (Choctaw), "Like a Rock" - Cut Stained Glass 

President's Award: Linda Kukuk (Choctaw), "Crow in Moonlight" - Scratchwork on Clayboard

Kathleen Everett Upshaw Award

Yonavea Hawkins (Caddo),  "Red Star" - Beadwork

Awards by Division

Cultural Items

First: Nelda Schrupp (Pheasant rump Nakota First Nation), "Missing and Murdered Spirit Honor Dress"

Second: Renee Hoover (Cherokee), "My Hidden Treasure"

Third: Yonavea Hawkins (Caddo), "Sunahtiti Turtle"


First: Jon Tiger (Muscogee Creek), "A Little Bird Told Me"

Second: Linda Kukuk (Choctaw), "Night Patrol"

Third: Dylan Cavin (Choctaw), "Field Mouse"

Diversified Artwork

First:  Stuart Sampson (Citizen Potawatomi), "On the Horizon 15"

Second: Anita Caldwell Jackson (Echota Cherokee), "Seven Clans of the Cherokee"

Third: Daniel Worcester (Chickasaw), "Miniature Fighting Knife "

Contemporary Jewelry

First:  Ray "Duck" Garcia (San Felipe Pueblo) "Messengers  of the Sea"

Second: Abraham Begay (Navajo) "Bugle Bead Necklace" 

Third: Clancy Gary (Osage), "Elegant Ring and Bracelet"

Traditional Jewelry

First:  Abraham Begay (Navajo), "Concho Belt"

Second: Toney Mitchell (Navajo/Dine), "Blue Malachite Bolo"

Third: Abraham Begay (Navajo), "Inlaid Necklace"

Painting, Oil/Acrylic

First: Michael McCullough (Choctaw), "Colors of Southwest"

Second: Gary Montgomery (Seminole), "Spirit Guardians" 

Third: Dylan Cavin (Choctaw), "McCurtain County"

Painting, Water-based

First:  Jon Tiger (Muscogee Creek), "Life Partners"

Second: Clancy Gray (Osage) "Emperor"

Third: Derek No-Sun Brown (Shoshone-Bannock, Klamath Ojibwe), "5 Horseman" 


First:  Monica Lovato (San Felipe/Santo Domingo Pueblo), "Resilience"

Second: Karin Walkingstick (Cherokee), "Dewdrops"

The communications director said those who attended the event followed along with COVID019 policies and procedures. 

“The Grand Casino Hotel Resort had a well-oiled plan for COVID safety measures including wearing masks at all times, temperature checks upon entry into the building, hand sanitizing stations and an air filtration system that cleaned the air every eight minutes,” Oesch said. “Our guests told us they felt very safe and secure while attending Red Earth.”