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Arthur Amiotte

Oglala Lakota
(b. 1942)
Arthur Amoitte

Arthur Amiotte was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1942 and raised between the Reservation and Custer, South Dakota.

He credits his interest in the tribal arts to living on the reservation and being with his family members as they participated in traditional tribal arts and ceremonies.

Throughout his life he has pursued scholarship and intellectualism. He received a bachelor’s degree in art education from Northern State College in Aberdeen, South Dakota, in 1964 and received a Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies in Anthropology, Religion and Art from the University of Montana, where he studied with renowned scholar, Joseph Eps Brown.

Amiotte also holds honorary doctorates from Oglala Lakota College and Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada.

While several college professors encouraged Amiotte to pursue art as a career, it was Dakota (Sioux) artist Oscar Howe who inspired him to utilize his Lakota background and culture in his artwork. He was mentored by Peter Catches, Sr., a respected elder and practitioner of sacred Oglala traditions.

Amiotte is a contemporary Lakota artist, historian and educator and is a highly sought after author and lecturer on Native American arts and contemporary American Indian art. He wrote the section on Sioux Indian arts for the Illustrated History of the Arts in South Dakota, which was published during the State’s Centennial in 1989.

Amiotte's career - as one of the most influential artists portraying Lakota life, thought and philosophy in the Northern Plains Region - spans four decades.

Amiotte’s stature as an educator and artist has been recognized by appointments to prestigious boards and councils, including a temporary advisorship to the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Presidential Advisory Council for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center.

The artist has also served on the Indian Advisory Board of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center at Cody, Wyoming. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Native American Art Studies Association, a commissioner of the United States Department of the Interior’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and a member of the Council of Regents of the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Arthur Amiotte is the recipient of an impressive array of awards, including Arts International; Lila Wallace Readers Digest Artists at Giverny, France, Fellowship; a Getty Foundation Grant; a Bush Leadership Fellowship; the South Dakota Governor’s Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Arts; and the Lifetime Achievement Award as Artist and Scholar from the Native American Art Studies Association. His work is included in 26 public and nearly 200 private collections.


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