Native American cultures are getting a helping hand from a surprising source…tourism. The stereotypes of insensitive non-Indians picking through baskets and turquoise jewelry, while still alive and well, is not what the American public, or the world, looks for in a vacation. They want an experience, and often as not, they want to learn.
Twenty years ago, a degree in Native American Art and Art History was non-existent. Even today, only a few universities offer Native Art programs, but at the University of Oklahoma Mary Jo Watson is responsible for launching a groundbreaking art program with an emphasis on the indigenous perspective.