Courtesy Robert Peters
Detail of 'Hopi Girls,' a painting by Robert Peters based on an Edward S. Curtis photograph. It's the May image in his 'Thirteen Moons' calendar. Courtesy the artist.

2015 Calendar Features Dazzling Paintings of Native Life and Culture [13 Images]


Artist and writer Robert Peters, Mashpee Wampanoag, has combined his images and poetry in a calendar titled Thirteen Moons. (Appropriately, Thirteen Moons spans 13 months, beginning with December 2014 and running through December 2015.) The work incorporates numerous themes; indigenous values and culture are central, but he also hints at politics and urbanization. He's been having signings and readings in Massachusetts and his works will be exhibited at the Hibernian Hall in Boston on October 31-November 2. Peters is also selling the calendar online; for more information on events and purchasing, visit

Peters took a moment to share his thoughts on the work. The calendar features these images at a much larger size and, of course, without watermarking.

Your Thirteen Moons calendar is a product of your Thirteen Moons project. Can you describe that? 

Thirteen Moons is a collection of Native American art and poetry that evolved through my own personal journey to reclaim tradition, culture and ultimately to live life in a way that is consistent with our own traditional beliefs. Thirteen Moons is the story of my journey home—so far.

In your art and writing, you seem to do a lot of thinking about Natives and their place in today's world—how do you feel about the state of Native life?

People often say that we have one foot in both worlds.  That is not true.  Most Native people have both feet in the white man’s world and take leave to return to our own world when the time and circumstances permit; weddings, powwows and funerals.  The reality is we have very little control over essential things that we must have to complete our own vision of what society should be.  We need to be free to do things in ways that are consistent with the way we view the world.  We are raised to interact with the environment but spend most of our time living in a world that pushes the environment away.

The task of conforming to another world’s life requirements leaves little time to consider our own wellbeing as people let alone caring for Mother Earth. Most of us have little or nothing left to contribute to our own family, tribal or environmental wellbeing.  It is fair for me to say, we are not at home living in someone else’s world.

The concept of "home" seems to be an important one for you.

Yes, home is an extremely important concept. The idea of being home or going home exists in every human being, every culture, every village, every tribe, every nation.  Home is the subject of story and lore.  It is voiced in every language, dialect and in slang and baby talk.  Home exists within people spiritually. Every human being has a vision of, what home is and means.  Say it in English; say it in your language.  Say the word that you utter when you want to go home and you will feel it in your heart.

Shortly after Thirteen Moons was completed, this notion on the subject of home came to me: Home is to be in the place and time where you belong – Not when it is in the past – Not when it is in the future – Not until the place and time where you belong is NOW, are you or will you ever be home.

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