New Dakota Community Artists-in-Residence (CAIR)


Help us welcome the first three Dakota Community Artists-in-Residence (CAIR)!

The Department of Public Transformation (DoPT)Dakota Wicohan, and Racing Magpie have co-designed the Dakota Community Artist-in-Residence (CAIR) program — a pilot project supporting artist-led solutions to community challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. Three Dakota artists have been selected to participate in a two-week “at home” residency to utilize their artistic practice to design and implement a creative project addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on Pezihutazizi Oyate (Upper Sioux Community) and / or Cansa’yapi (Lower Sioux Indian Community). Please help us welcome Fern Cloud, Talon Cavender-Wilson, and Lisa Nez! And, stay tuned for ways to show your support for these creative leaders over the coming weeks as they share their work in digital forums and social distance formats.

Huge thanks to Marlena Myles for the awesome design work!


I am enrolled at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate on the Lake Traverse Reservation. I am Mdewakantuan and Wahpetuan and direct lineal descendant of Taoyateduta the  Mdewakantuan Chief Little Crow.  I have 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter.
I am a self-taught artist, learning from my mother & grandmothers and apprenticeships from master artists.  I am a textile artist, traditional hide painter meaning I only use brain tanned hides, natural paint pigments & bone brushes and willow sticks to paint. I am also on an artistic journey as a quill artist.  Artistic native expression has been a major part of my life.
I have spent the last five years studying traditional Scandinavian crafts in Sweden. I spent two years in the woodworking program and 3 years in the blacksmithing program. I just came back after completing the journeyman’s test in blacksmithing. I plan on continuing my education within art and design in 2021. In the interim, I hope to stretch my artistic muscles and practice the skills that I have learned.

As blacksmithing nor this style of woodworking are traditional to Dakota people, my goal is to explore the potential evolution of Dakota style and design into these new, nontraditional materials. My goal with my art is to show a modern Dakota perspective to the world.

My Dakota name is Cloud Woman, My English name is Lisa Nez. I’m an enrolled member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community. My husband is Pete Nez, he is enrolled at the Navajo Nation in Arizona. This September will be our 10 year Wedding Anniversary. We have 9 Children. We are a licensed Foster Family, we are currently waiting for our adoption to be final for our two youngest; siblings, which can be any day now. Once that is final, we will then have custody or have adopted all 6 of our kids (Odin 8, Brianna 14, Nevaeh 11, Aniah 8, Nyla 5 and Osage 3). (We have 3 biological kids: Tate 18, Laiten 14, and Kimamana 12).

I enjoy making several types of Native American Arts & Crafts for Regalia. Even though I don’t like public speaking, I would rather teach others who want to learn how to make regalia instead of taking orders to make it for them. The feeling is indescribable when I see their excitement and see how proud they are that they finished their art work. And then, I can’t even describe what it feels like when I see their children or grandchildren wearing their new moccasins or regalia. It’s a lot of work to try to teach someone how to make art but it’s so rewarding when they continue to use the skills I’ve taught them. If you think about the whole process you can imagine how time consuming it can be,  from coming up with the design and picking out colors that go well with each other.

I’ve made all types of regalia for men and women. I can make shawls, skirts, ribbon shirts, I can bead moccasins and leggings, I can sew star quilts, I’ve made accessories like hair ties, barrettes, earrings, chokers, head bands, and belts, and I’ve also painted parflesch sets. My future goals are that I want to learn how to do feather work and quill work.

More from these amazing artists in the coming weeks! 

SMAC logo. Two curved blades of grass to the left with three blue dots above them. The words "Southwest Minnesota" are written in black, "Arts" is written in blue and is bigger than the other words and all capital letters, "Council" is in black under.

This project was co-designed by Dakota Wicohan, Racing Magpie, and the Department of Public Transformation, with support from the Southwest Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership’s (SWRSDP) rapid response grant and with a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council.

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