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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Dustin Illetewahke Mater

If You Only Knew the Storm in My Heart

drawing of a girl wearing a number around her neck, drawn on aged ledger paper with cursive writing
“if you only knew the storm in my heart”
illustrated on 1918 antique ledger paper with ink and copic markers
9″ × 8″

I’m a Runner

painting of a young Indigenous woman on yellowed ledger paper
“Malili’ saya” (I’m a Runner)
mixed media painting on antique 1919 ledger paper
19″ × 15″

The goal of my work as a whole is to tell stories of strength, determination, success and the glory within though the use of a juxtaposition of colors, tones, materials & historical splendor. The works in this issue represent some of the revitalization in Indian country. Ranging from the regaining of cultural knowledge and dress, the uplifting of indigenous women and their place in our matriarchal culture, the protection of plant life and the waterways that feed everything & the acknowledgment of the American travesty of the boarding schools in Indian country.


Dustin Illetewahke Mater grew up in Ada, Indian Territory, Oklahoma and is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. He started graphic design and his fine art career in Los Angeles and eventually returned home to work for the Chickasaw Nation’s Arts & Humanities Division in 2011. His award winning work has continued to bloom with unique and innovative designs in the contemporary Muskogean esthetic and has been published in books and magazines, used by Pendleton and Mahota blankets, United States Air Force, national park service and can be seen in the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC. Mater’s portraits of native people are a reaction to not seeing folks who look like his family and community represented in fine art. “I try to capture the radiance of the creator and their humanity in each of the paintings.”

Other works by Dustin Illetewahke Mater »

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