MY SPIRIT SAYS BUFFALO : the contemporary art of Robert "Running Fisher" Upham

MY SPIRIT SAYS BUFFALO : the contemporary art of Robert "Running Fisher" Upham

Robert "Running Fisher" Upham is a mixed blood Indian from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, where he attended schools in Harlem, MT. He is Dakota, enrolled in the Lake Traverse Sioux Reservation (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate)

Many of his topics deal with Social Justice and Indian History. The Plains Ledger style of his artwork is originated from the captive American Indians who were imprisoned and considered hostile. While in prison in places like Fort Marion, Florida and Fort Robinson, Nebraska they were given color pencils and used accounting ledger books to doodle in. But, they had more to show then doodles. Their drawings were accounts of their hunts, marriages, deaths, and war parties. In the tradition of recording history on buffalo hides, which were called Winter Counts, the books are treasured by collectors and historians. Robert's Great Grandmother, Julia Running Fisher (Gros Ventre tribe),  raised him until he was 10 years old.  She bought him his first drawing pencils. His Grandfather, Gary Moran (Dakota Sioux) spoke fluent Dakota and affected Robert with determination and a tough honesty. 

Often times the Indians who drew in the ledger books were captured for going off Reservation to hunt what remained of the buffalo. The Buffalo were killed as part of America's extermination policies. The Indian populations and the buffalo population were killed in the numbers of over 10 millions.
Robert considers his art as a form of Resistance Art.

Because Robert sees himself as primarily a chronicler or story teller, his work can become a powerful way of educating yourself about Indian history.

Find more of his work at Sacred Point of View 

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