Texas Christian University (TCU) is now the proud owner of two paintings by the contemporary Comanche/Kiowa artist J. NiCole Hatfield (Nahmi-A-Piah). The two works – “Based on Quanah Parker” and “Based on Mrs. Jack Treetop-Standing Rock 1908” – are displayed on the first floor of The Harrison. They were recently unveiled at a reception.
“One of our Native students, after taking in the paintings, expressed how very meaningful it was to see these Native American representations at TCU,” said Scott Langston, liaison for Native American Nations and Communities. “A guest who had driven from Wichita Falls told me that her father, a direct descendent of Quanah Parker, was filled with emotions to see these paintings hanging prominently in The Harrison.”
In recent years, TCU has embarked on a concerted effort to improve its relations with Native American and indigenous peoples through an initiative that includes a leadership and advisory circle, land acknowledgment statement, cultural awareness, events and other efforts.
Langston said he was struck by the contrast he experienced at a recent meeting outside TCU hosted by a local civic organization whose representatives only recently learned that a Native American community existed in the area, versus TCU where he sees a healthy, growing embrace of this community.
“This is one reason why it’s so important to create spaces and places on our campus for Native American and indigenous peoples where we can learn from and partner with them,” Langston said.
Langston said he was especially grateful to Aisha Torrey-Sawyer, director of diversity and inclusion initiatives; Florencio Aranda, coordinator of diversity and inclusion initiatives; Lisa Aven, interior designer; Brooke Ruesch, manager of construction projects; and Sarah Tonemah, a former TCU employee, for helping bring the art display to fruition.
“We owe them a lot,” Langston said. “I am also grateful to our chancellor and provost, who continue to open doors at TCU to Native American and indigenous peoples.”