‘Little Cheyenne Girl’ Shines in Atlanta, Shoni Schimmel Endorses #NativeArt4Health
Atlanta is the second stop on a 10-city tour across the country for “Little Cheyenne Girl.” The beautiful painting will illuminate the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, September 9-12, from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. each night.
The digital projection is part of #NativeArt4Health—a national campaign designed to advocate the importance of Native health and the benefits of enrolling in healthcare coverage.
The convention center is located across the street from Philip’s Arena, where Shoni Schimmel, point guard for WNBA team Atlanta Dream and a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, will battle the Indian Fever on Friday, September 11, the team’s official Fans Appreciation Night. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Directly following Friday night’s game, Schimmel will make a special appearance at the Georgia World Congress Center to show her support for #NativeArt4Health.
Yesterday the basketball star tweeted about Little Cheyenne Girl’s digital unveiling.
The debut of the art piece in Atlanta was celebrated Wednesday with drumming and dancing by the Silver Ridge Singers, an American Indian drum group from Lawrenceville, Georgia. The group will be back Friday, September 11.
Comanche/Kiowa contemporary artist J. Nicole Nahmi-A-Piah created “Little Cheyenne Girl,” after she was selected to visually interpret the #NativeArt4Health project by Kauffman and Associates, following a nationwide call for artists this past spring. Based in Norman, Oklahoma, she draws her inspiration from historical photographs of proud tribal women. Also known as Jayden Nicole Hatfield, she was given her great-grandmother’s American Indian name last year, Nahmi-A-Piah, meaning “Little Sister’s Mother.”
“Little Cheyenne Girl” is a symbol of efforts to improve health across Indian country and to encourage Natives to sign up for affordable insurance through the Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov/tribal.
“J. Nicole [Nahmi-A-Piah] has really taken that message and turned it into an art form,” Jo Ann Kauffman, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and president of Kauffman and Associates Inc., told Indian Country Today Media Network.
“‘Little Cheyenne Girl’ represents the pride and hope of American Indian people. If given a fair chance at good health and good opportunities, there’s no limit to what Native people can accomplish.”
Nahmi-A-Piah took to Twitter to share her enthusiasm to visit the Peach State and see Little Cheyenne Girl shine on the Georgia World Congress Center. She attended the artwork debut yesterday and will be present again Friday night.
Below, watch the artist create “Little Cheyenne Girl.”
Jo Ann Kauffman appreciates the dissonance of reflecting the gorgeous artwork across “gritty, urban environments and cityscapes,” she said.
“It symbolizes the reality of American Indian and Alaska Native people living in urban cities, connected to who they are as Native peoples, but living in this urban environment, which can sometimes be welcoming and sometimes be difficult to survive in,” Kauffman explained.
She hopes the stunning visual of “Little Cheyenne Girl” projecting on one of the most visible buildings in Atlanta will spark social media buzz.
“We hope people will be wondering about what they see. We hope they’ll post photos with hashtags (#NativeArt4Health) on Twitter and Instagram,” she told ICTMN. “We want Native people to go and take a photo of themselves in front of the artwork.”
While the campaign is targeted at American Indians and Alaska Natives who do not have access to Indian Health Services or other types of healthcare, the ultimate goal is to spread the word about insurance opportunities to Natives and non-Natives. “The goal of the outreach is to get as many people informed about health insurance opportunities as possible, while enjoying the fantastic, cutting-edge artwork that J. Nicole produced for us,” Kauffman said.
Twenty-eight percent of tribal people report poor health, compared with just 16 percent of the overall U.S. population. Still, about 30 percent of Natives are uninsured. In Atlanta, 29 percent of the nearly 45,000 American Indian and Alaska Natives are uninsured.
“We’re trying to get Native companies and families thinking about their futures and creating healthy futures for everybody,” Kauffman said.
Last month, August 8-14, “Little Cheyenne Girl” was projected digitally on a building in Philadelphia’s city center. Next up: Houston, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Fayetteville/Lumberton, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Ventura, California; Tampa, Florida; and Fargo, North Dakota. Visit the website KauffmanInc.com/NativeArt4Health to find out when Nahmi-A-Piah’s painting will be projected in other cities, or follow the hashtag #NativeArt4Health on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
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