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Blackfeet Nations Influence on Functional Art

Throughout its long rich history, the Blackfeet Indians have endured one grueling struggle after another. The Blackfeet have survived war, disease, famine, pollution, attempts at social reengineering, and countless other attacks against their way of life.

Since the beginning, the Blackfeet have passed their traditions, heritage, customs, art, dances, and stories down through the generations. They've held onto certain beliefs about culture, about religion, and about their way of life.

But now, even though the Blackfeet Nation is on the cusp of making one of its biggest comebacks ever, the tribe may be facing its biggest battle of all: The fight to be Indians and to remain Indians.

Preserving Native American heritage

Natural Artist Dean Grommet understands that fight. He, too, harkens back to the days when animals and people roamed freely across the land. Little by little, Dean has seen the unrestrained ways of his youth disappear forever. He sees this happening not only in the land surrounding the Blackfeet Nation, but across the entire nation and elsewhere around the globe.

Protecting the heritage of the Blackfeet, who author George Catlin suggested was the most powerful Indian tribe on the continent, is just one of the reasons Dean has chosen to offer his financial support to the Blackfeet Nation.

Today the Blackfeet Reservation in Blackfeet Country sits on 3,000 square miles in the state of Montana. The reservation is home to approximately 10,000 people, mostly of Blackfeet descent. No longer warriors and hunters, today's Blackfeet are doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals committed to preserving the Blackfeet way of life.

Borrowing from nature

Another reason for Dean's support is a belief he shares the Blackfeet. The belief is actually held by all Native Americans and is one of their most basic beliefs. That belief is making use of what's available in the natural environment.

And that is exactly what Dean Grommet does. His use of what's available in the natural environment is evident in every piece of functional artwork he creates. One of Dan's favorite elements to work with is antlers. What others would leave to turn into dust, Dan gathers and uses to create bases for one-of-a-kind tables and mirror frames, chairs, sofas, and elegant wall sconces.

Other natural elements Dean incorporates into his artwork include bone, wood, metal, rock, leather, rawhide, vines, elk burs, and feathers. He even collects war clubs and uses them to create dramatic chandeliers. War clubs are also a common theme in Dan's metal and ironwork.

Dean's ability to capture the true spirit and essence of the Blackfeet Nation as well as all Native Americans is a skill that sets him apart from other modern-day artists. Any of his functional art would look right at home whether inside a Native American tepee on a rolling prairie or a massive log cabin mansion straddling the side of a mountain.

Dean Grommet of Creations Studio and his Antler Art Furniture is scheduled and Participating at several different Art shows this coming year. The first of which is the Summer Art Social presented by the Whitefish Community Foundation and co sponsored by the Iron Horse Foundation and Iron Horse Golf club also in Whitefish Montana.


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