Sign up to receive email updates from the
Akta Lakota Museum!
Sign up
Necklace from the Akta Lakota Museum Shopping Center

Nelda Schrupp

Nakota Sioux (Canada)
(b. 1952)

Nelda Schrupp

Growing up on the White Bear Indian Reservation in Saskatchewan, Canada, Nelda Schrupp’s roots are revealed in everything she creates.

Schrupp combines her heritage with inspiration gathered from the European masters to create her own work.

Schrupp says, “A great deal of my work revolves around the rattle, a sacred object which may be used in spiritual ceremonies."

"Medicine men use the rattle during prayer, believing that the sound helps carry their prayers to the Great Spirit."

"I call my art pieces amuletic forms with audio aesthetics, referring to the sacredness of the rattle and the sound (voice) that emanates from the pieces.”

Each shape, color, and material used in her amuletic rattles holds a significant meaning:

  • squares, rectangles and triangle shapes represent the fate of Native Americans “boxed in” on reservations;
  • the circle symbolizes the Circle of Life;
  • free-flowing shapes represent how the spirit of Native people could not be harnessed or tied down;
  • deer horns and horsehair extensions honor the animals “for their special role in helping Native people persevere and survive.”

Schrupp’s jewelry works are abstract, fluid, miniature renditions of her traditional rattles.

Crafted in silver, gold, copper, horsehair, deer antler and semi-precious stones, the pieces truly draw the eye and mind into her world.

The youngest of 11 children, Nelda earned her degrees at the University of North Dakota, a BFA in Visual Arts in 1990, with a minor in Anthropology and an MFA with an emphasis in metalsmithing, jewelry and small sculpture in 1993.

Schrupp has been honored as part of many exhibitions.

She was named a Smithsonian Art Fellow, and her work is included in the permanent collection at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana!

Her work has also been published numerous times, including Native Peoples Magazine, Changing Hands: Art Without Reservations 2, and North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment from Prehistory to Present.

In addition, her work is exhibited at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND, the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, Chamberlain, SD and traveled with the “Lewis and Clark Exhibition.”


All active news articles