Native American business owners and artists collaborate to form a new brand

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:40 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2023 at 9:54 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It was a dream of many years for both Butch Thunderhawk and Angie Gillette to have their own workspace to be creative and share their work.

Ledger paper is a unique canvas for artwork and Butch Thunderhawk has made it the trademark background for his art. He’s been creating art since he was a little boy and is inspired by his ancestors.

“Well for me it’s to honor them for teaching me and giving me that kind of the background of my ideas, my culture. And so, it like goes back to a lot of my relatives a lot of older people I grew up with,” said Thunder Hawk.

He was an educator at United Tribes Technical College for 40 years, sharing his love of art with his students, and for one in particular it really stuck when crafting her work.

“Native Americans don’t have a clothing line that I would wear down the street. If you see the fashion shows sometimes are a little bit much. So it’s very important to me to represent me as a Native American woman and a Native American edge is something that my kids are going to wear,” said Gillette.

They have now collaborated to make their brand one that honors their ancestors and traditions.

“Where I come from, who I come from my ancestors and that is where my whole inspiration does come from. It’s from the mountain Hidatsa Rick rod tribe and what they all do for us encouraging and all my people there,” said Gillette.

They have items from dresses to cups and mugs with all original art.

“Like artwork, past and present, is a way of preserving culture, preserving art, preserving ideas. So just one of the ways that our people long, long ago put into our art, how to share and preserve history,” said Thunder Hawk.

In Thunderhawk’s art, you can see symbolism that has been passed down through generations.

“We have sacred numbers that we use. We have sacred colors that we use, and usually, they would try to honor mother nature and the animals and the sky people, and stars. You know, the heavens creatures that fly,” said Thunder Hawk.

They both started the collaboration for fun after turning their passions into side businesses.

You can find their products at Star Gifts in Gateway Mall and on their website.