Master sculptor Oreland C. Joe Sr. is world-renowned for his work in stone and bronze sculptures. His works can be found in museum, corporate, and private collections in the United States and abroad. Oreland is a native New Mexican and is of Diné (Navajo) and Ute descent.
The influences in Oreland’s life include family and travels abroad to France, Italy, and Japan. Studying European art and culture, seeing and feeling the impressive artistic works of the masters in Greek, Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque periods were life-changing experiences.
His love for art placed him in an elite class of stone and bronze sculptors. His accomplishments are numerous, but one is being the first Native American admitted as a member of the prestigious CAA organization. In two decades of CAA membership, he won four Gold and four Silver Medals for his sculptures. Oreland was awarded the Gold Medal at the Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale at the Autry National Center in 1999 and again in 2006. In June 2002, the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Committee of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, commissioned Oreland to create The First Council — five life-size figures and a dog. At the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale in 2006, he received the Prix de West Purchase Award for his sculpture Buffalo Sunrise.
“I find strength, faith, and dignity through my heritage — yet I also find these in other cultures — and I derive inspiration and motivation from them as well,” Oreland said. “In my humble opinion, I’m just an artist who happens to be Native American. I find myself in a unique place of receiving blessings from two worlds. My goal and desire is to have more Native American artists to be in this place.”
As time went by treaty after treaty between the Plains allies and the U.S. Government, the Indians became frustrated. Throughout the 1800s, the government went back on their word and took more and more treaty lands from all tribes in the West.
This sculpture depicts a Cheyenne War Chief wanting peace but has no choice but to fight for the people again. Armed with his war paraphernalia, he is ready to fight with the Blue Coats. He motions his axe counter clockwise reversing the words of the treaty talks. He joins the younger ones anxious to count coup and to protect their homeland.
Weeks after the October 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty, more than a few Cheyenne and Arapaho society leaders realized the paper they had signed had been misinterpreted to them. The U.S. Government took more land and proceeded to move tribes to what was soon to be Indian Territory in Oklahoma. As much as some Chiefs wanted peace, they retaliated at the false statements and agreements.
Tall Bull and Bull Bear were the primary Cheyenne Chiefs who went back to the battles against the government and oncoming settlers.
This painting shows a Cheyenne War Chief dressed in full regalia. In a crucial moment, he decides on warfare against the whites again. With tobacco bag in hand, he is eager to send the war pipe to his allies the Sioux and Arapaho. The great medicines of the air and earth are called upon through song and prayer. The best of the war medicine horses are called upon to go into battle.
The Utes inhabited the front range of the Rocky Mountains in the 1800s. One of the most significant mountains in the region, Sun Mountain in the Ute language, known as Pikes Peak today. The Arkansas River was to the south providing a pathway for travelers east to west.
Ceremonial dances and song were a year-round, constant practice for the Capote and Mouache Utes in the area. Sun Mountain was one of many places they called home.
This painting depicts a time of peace, a time to remember the teachings of the Elders. The upper left represents and eagle soaring high above the people, serving as its protector.
Sun Mountain is the first peak at dawn to receive the Sun’s light rays at dawn, giving those who lived by it special blessings. The orange Summer Sun making its walk slowly across the sky. A Ute woman and her daughters dressed in their finest beadwork and clothing getting ready for a dance and feast.