Native Artists Honored as 2017 Heritage Fellows by National Endowment for the Arts

2017-cyril-pahinui-neaWashington, DC— Across the United States there are traditional art forms that shape our culture and make our communities distinct, whether it’s conjunto music in Texas, old-time buckdancing in Tennessee, or Chilkat weaving in Alaska. For the past 35 years, the National Endowment for Arts (NEA) has presented National Heritage Fellowships to celebrate and honor master artists working in the folk and traditional arts. On June 20, 2017 the NEA announced the nine 2017 National Heritage Fellowship recipients, who will each receive $25,000 and will be honored in Washington, DC this September.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to honor these individuals for artistic mastery, as well as a commitment to sharing their traditions,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Our nation is a richer, more vibrant place because of these artists and the art forms they practice.”

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation offers its congratulations to all the recipients, and the two indigenous artists honored among the 2017 cohort:

  • Anna Brown Ehlers (Seminole, Muskogee, Dine), Juneau, AK – Chilkat Weaver
  • Cyril Pahinui (Native Hawaiian), Waipahu, HI – Hawaiian Slack Key Guitarist

Cyril was honored in 2013 by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation as a National Artist Fellow.

Click here to read Cyril’s biography and listen to him perform on the NEA website.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.