I want to straddle a line between contemporary and ancient.

I am an enrolled Klamath Indian. I can legally claim my heritage because I have a legal certificate of authenticity, also known as a Certificate of Blood. Unfortunately I am an estranged Klamath Indian. My knowledge of the Klamath Tribes is very limited. I have to teach myself how to make traditional Klamath objects. I am aware that my lack of a mentor or instructor leaves me open to making many mistakes. But I am comforted by the fact that no matter what I make- It is authentically Klamath because I am Klamath. But I am not only a Klamath Indian struggling to educate myself on ancient practices; I am also a contemporary white woman.

Contemporary generations rely on the internet for information. We even rely on the internet for video workshops. It can be difficult to find information on my culture on the internet. This void opens an opportunity for me to fill it.

Over the past year I have been teaching myself how to make moccasins. Sometimes when I look at Native American beadings and moccasins I find myself un-attracted to them. I prefer to add contemporary fashionable touch to my moccasins. I decided to model a pair of moccasins after the stylish Converse classic high top. This hybrid shoe was a no brainer as the common Great Basin style moccasin is similar in design.

One of the most powerful tools in preserving culture is education. The workshop is a very effective teaching method. The workshop is also a common teaching practice in gallery culture.

The Converse moccasin is a perfect symbol of my ethnicity and my situation. The decision to make a workshop/performance of making a Converse moccasin seems so perfect. The workshop is aimed at the art gallery audience. It is a teaching method that is best suited for this audience. Through this workshop I am able to educate artistic individuals how to make a Klamath moccasin. Through the recording and digitization of the performance,. I will be able to reach not only those present at the performance but any people who may view the video in the future.

(photos courtesy of Roberta Hemlock)



Noelle Garcia

Noelle Garcia was born in Reno, Nevada in 1984. Noelle received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. During her BFA career Noelle was awarded the Emilie Hesmeyer Memorial Award and The Klamath Tribes Scholarship. She also participated in the Oxbow School of Art in 2007 where she received the Barna Memorial Award.
   Noelle recently graduated the UNLV Masters of Fine Arts program. During her attendance at UNLV Noelle has been awarded the American Indian Graduate Center Fine Arts Scholarship and has participated in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Emerging Artist Fellowship.
   Noelle’s work is narrative; a form of storytelling. Although her work has a sense of catharsis, Noelle’s work also offers a glimpse into the contemporary American Indian experience and into personal family relationships. Noelle uses photos of family members such as her deceased father and her many estranged siblings for reference. “The feeling of forgetting my family distresses me. I feel that the loss of memory and family also creates a loss of my own identity. I fear being cultureless. So I am forced to construct my own identity and family through research and imagination. The process of making artwork about my family brings me closer to the people I long for. Through my art process I am able to have a relationship with deceased loved ones such as my father.



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