AWARDEE: Growing Thunder Collective
LEAD ARTIST: Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty
NATIVE HERITAGE: Dakota/Nakoda Enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine/Sioux Tribes of Montana
LOCATION: North San Juan, California
AWARD: 2023 SHIFT – Transformative Change and Indigenous Arts
DISCIPLINE: Traditional Arts
The Growing Thunder Collective, housed under J Growing Thunder, is comprised of Joyce, Juanita, Jessa Rae, Camryn, and numerous Growing Thunder grandchildren. A way of life, they practice traditional beadwork and porcupine quillwork every day, just as their grandmothers did before them. They aspire to embody Dakota/Nakoda women’s traditions and uphold responsibilities as knowledge keepers. Everything the collective’s grandmothers created was out of love, strength, and inspiration drawn from their community. As modern women, Growing Thunder Collective does their best to uphold those intentions and preserve women’s cultural traditions for future generations to thrive.
The Collective has decades of experience in mastering their skills in creating traditional Dakota/Nakoda cultural pieces, such as horse masks, dolls, pipe bags, and dresses. Their process is rooted in cultural and historical knowledge, using proper materials such as antique seed beads, brain tanned buckskin, moose hides as well as personally harvested and dyed porcupine quills. Their designs have specific meanings connected to cultural knowledges and worldviews, such as creation stories, gender roles and responsibilities, and community stature. Their commitment to research, planning, and sourcing materials not only honors their grandmothers who gifted them these knowledges but preserves these traditions for the younger generations.
To think about why we are artists and the intentions we have within our work, is a humbling reminder that our work is not about our personal triumphs, but rather we are vessels for the traditions that have instructed seven generations past, and seven generations future.”
― Growing Thunder Collective
Growing Thunder Collective’s SHIFT project, Waksupi Waunspe: Dakota/Nakoda Beadwork Knowledges, will engage family, spanning four generations, and Fort Peck Reservation youth in the co-creation of women’s regalia through workshops and hands-on learning. Their entire process will be documented by cinematographer and Lead Partner Jon Hustead of Ephemera to serve as a teaching tool for years to come. The film will debut in 2025 and will coincide with a touring exhibition organized by Joslyn Art Museum.
Ephemera is a documentary film production company based in Omaha, Nebraska. We cast a cinematic eye on human stories — how we live, connect, and create — with a focus on conservation, the arts, education, and industry.