MPR: Study examines Ojibwe artisans in Minnesota
"A new University of Minnesota study suggests that if helped, Native American artists could become a major economic asset to the state.

Demographer Ann Markusen and writer Marcie Rendon, an enrolled member at the White Earth Band, interviewed dozens of native artists around the state for the study. They talked to visual artists, writers, performers and a host of others. Markusen said they discovered many things.

"There are a lot of native artists doing extraordinary, high-quality work [and] that their work doesn't get the visibility that it deserves," Markusen said.

Markusen points to a number of reasons for this. Many are working on reservations, in areas with high levels of poverty.

"Their own communities can't really afford that much to patronize their work," Markusen said, "Although they do have casinos and other government buildings that could do a lot better job of hosting their performances and buying their visual art, and there are some wonderful cases of that."

This lack of patronage then creates another challenge.

"We discovered they have higher self-employment rates than other artists in general, which are already high," she said."

Get the Story:
Study finds untapped potential in Native American art (Minnesota Public Radio 1/21)

Get the Report:
Native Artists: Livelihoods, Resources, Space, Gifts (December 2009)