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Artist and politician visits LR

 


Renowned Native American artist and politician Enoch Kelly Haney visited students in grades six through 12 from Nespelem Elementary School and Lake Roosevelt High School in the LR gym on Thursday.

Bert Smith, a Coulee Dam High School alumnus, had introduced Haney to Kim Stanger, the Indian Education director at Lake Roosevelt, who helped organize the event.

Haney sat in a chair in the middle of the gym floor while the students listened to him speak, in a thick southern accent, about his life and his art, presenting slides of his work, and doing a Q&A at the end.

Haney encouraged the students to find what they love and to pursue it, something he himself did with his paintings and his sculptures. Haney’s sculptures include “Chickasaw Horse and Rider,” and “the Guardian,” a 22-foot-tall bronze piece that sits on top of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Haney spoke fondly of his father, William Haney, a flutemaker, from whom Haney had drawn inspiration for his artwork.

Haney, 76, an Oklahoma native, served in the Oklahoma State Senate and House of Representatives for 22 years, the first full-blooded native American to serve in either of the houses in Oklahoma. Asked about the current national political scene, Haney said, “We’re going to be alright. We’ve been through rough times before, and we’ll go through rough times again.”

Haney was also a consultant and narrator for the Discovery Channel’s TV documentary series “How the West was Lost,” among other television work, which he spoke a bit about. He emphasized that he came from a more impoverished background and went on to do such a variety of things with his life. He said that the students could too.

“I think from the response, I think I kinda got through to them,” Haney said about the students who attended the assembly. “It’s all you do in life, just take things a little at a time, pick up things that help you; and if I helped them in some way, then that’s worth the effort.”

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