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Creek Horned Owl Dance / Joan Hill


Creek Horned Owl Dance by Cherokee and Muscogee artist Joan Hill (Chea-se-quah) is an excellent example of the artist’s Flatstyle paintings. Hill was raised on the Muscogee Reservation, and her works often include land as a bifurcated aspect of her subject in which Muscogee people and place together comprise the whole. In July 2020, about a month after Hill passed away, the federal government’s long and brutal history of broken treaties with Indigenous tribes took another turn. In the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the case of McGirt v. Oklahoma, it was found that Congress had never disestablished the reservation boundaries of the Muscogee Nation, affirming that a large section of eastern Oklahoma is still a reservation under Indigenous, not state, control.

Many of Hill’s paintings—including Creek Horned Owl Dance, which is set in the homelands of Muscogee peoples—draw upon the intrinsic, enduring connections between the land and the Muscogee peoples through time. Hill’s biomorphic representation of the land in this painting serves as both a background and groundline for the vibrant scene.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

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Creek Horned Owl Dance
Joan Hill (Artist)
Native American; Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek)
circa 1970s
tempera on paper
Landscape; single-sided; 30 x 22 1/8in (76.0 x 56.0cm) 0.436-0.446mm cream colored, cold pressed, textured paper. Embossed stamp in lower PR corner.
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds from the Gordon R. Carlson Trust
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
TL2005.1.1; TL 2005.1.1
Not On View

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