Collection of the Sheldon Museum, Haines, AK, purchased with a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation
Charlie Jimmie, Sr. posed for me at Alaska Indian Arts for a painting from life in 1990, when I had a 1% for Arts project for the Juneau hospital where the painting now hangs. I wanted to paint him again, twenty-two years later, for my Sheldon Museum show in Haines in 2013. Charlie agreed, and allowed me a photo shoot so that I could paint him in a more active pose. When I asked if I could set up my easel at the Indian Arts, to have his Tlingit regalia in front of me while I paint, Lee Heinmiller kindly sent the artifacts home with me. I put the garment over a stool, with the shakee.at on a glass head.
Known also by his Tlingit name, Gayeis Gaaw Eesh (Iron Drum Father) is considered a “Living Cultural Treasure” amongst his people. He holds the knowledge of his native tongue, rituals, stories, dances, harvest practices, and totem carving.
I hope I have presented my subject and his energy in a way that commands the respect that I think all Native Americans deserve. Our European ancestors stole their land from the east coast all the way to Alaska. I believe that Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee should be required reading for all students of American history.