NACF Announces 2022 LIFT Program Awardees

Blog, NACF

PORTLAND, Oregon, September 8, 2022 – The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) is pleased to announce the new 2022 LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists program awardees. Over 132 artist applications were reviewed by a panel of arts professionals and peers with expertise in various artistic disciplines following a national open call for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artist applicants. Twenty artists were selected to receive a $10,000 one-year award designed to support them in furthering their work and to serve as a launching point in their career.

The LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists program provides early career Native artists with professional development, marketing support, culturally appropriate evaluation, and a $10,000 award to develop and realize new projects. Support for burgeoning artists is critical in developing fresh voices and envisioning the future of our respective Native practices. In addition, LIFT encourages artists to uplift communities, advance positive social change, point courageously toward environmental sustainability, and foster communal meaning-making.

“We are spellbound by the remarkable risk that these artists take in expressing themselves. There is so much care and acceptance amongst them, each of them from a unique position in their tribal histories, in the ways in which they identify personally and as representatives from their respective communities.”

Reuben Roqueñi, Director of Transformative Change Programs.

Please join us in congratulating the following 2022 LIFT Artists:


  • Loren Waters (Citizen of the Cherokee Nation and Kiowa Tribe) – Documentary Film
    “Meet Me at the Creek” is a short film that will focus on Cherokee values through the lifelong fight of waterkeeper and activist, Rebecca Jim.
  • Olivia Camfield (Mvskoke) – Narrative Film
    “Lupinus” is a Native revenge/horror short film that will build around a character seeking accountability from male abusers who prey on Indigenous communities.

Multi-Disciplinary Arts

  • Dylan McLaughlin (Diné) – Sound/Performance
    “Songs of Tempestuous Rising and Falling” will create a sound performance focusing on the legacy of extractive mining on the Navajo Nation.
  • Mobéy Lola Irizarry (Puerto Rican, Citizen of Chickasaw Nation) – Music Score
    “Propuestes” will be an installation-sized, 3-movement graphic score installation, read and performed by multiple ensembles.
  • J. Keanu Tario/Laritza Labouche (Kanaka Maoli) – Drag/Music
    “E aha ‘ia ana ‘o Maunakea (What is being done, Maunakea?)” is a multi-disciplinary performance piece that will shed light on the protection of Mauna Kea. 

Traditional Arts

  • Brian Walker II (King Island Inupiat and Deg Hit’an Athabascan)Carving
    “Modeling Traditional Spirituality to Facilitate Contemporary Conversations” will include five carved masks and elder interviews exploring connection to the land.
  • Carly Feddersen (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation)Glasswork/Jewelry Making
    “Untraded Jewelry” will renew a tradition of “untraded” beadmaking, offering a fresh expression of Plateau stories and adornment.
  • Chelsea Kaiah (White Mountain Apache & White River Ute)Hide Tanning/Beadwork
    “Buffalo Hides” will photograph and video document her family’s annual buffalo hunt and create two fully-beaded hide bags
  • Kamali‘ikūpono Hanohano (Kanaka ‘Ōiwi) Traditional Tattoo
    The “Garden of Tradition” will focus on the harvesting of mea kanu (plants) that are proprietary to the tools of traditional tattoos.
  • Lehuauakea (Kanaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian)Kapa Making
    “E Hoʻāla Ka Lupe: To Awaken the Kite” will be dedicated to the revival and recreation of traditional Native Hawaiian kites (lupe).
  • Hāwane Rios (Kānaka ʻŌiwi)Chanting
    “Reclaiming Our Rightful Place In The Sacred House of Women Through Ceremony & the Ancestral Vocal Art of Chant” will center instruction and ceremonial gathering.
  • Sydney Akagi (Tlingit)Textiles/Weaving
    “Ceremonial Woven Tunic, Ravenstail and Chilkat” will feature the weaving of traditional Ravenstail and Chilkat tunics.

Visual Arts

  • Akilah/Glittering World Girl (Diné/Navajo)New Media
    “Natives In Tech” will develop an augmented reality (AR) environment to share collective experiences with a culturally rich Indigenous digital interface.
  • Derick Wycherly (Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana) Papermaking/Printmaking
    “Gifted Editions” will develop a series of prints of landscape imagery on handmade paper and center the concept of gift-giving in Indigenous communities.
  • Ethan J Lauesen [Denaakk’e Koyukon Athabaskan, Ahtna Athabaskan, Tlingit (Sukteeneidi – Raven Dog Salmon Clan)]Printmaking
    “For Your Comfort” will develop a body of prints around identity and perception, focusing on experiences as a visibly queer, Alaskan Native.
  • Mikayla Patton (Oglala Lakhota)Papermaking/Installation
    “Paper Installation” will be a sculptural installation, utilizing self-made papers made from scrap mail and informed by Lakota motifs.
  • Wicanhpi Iyotan Win Autumn Cavender (Pezutazizi K’api/Upper Sioux Community)New Media
    “Wowicakekage – Dakota Art Encoded” will compile an image library of historic Dakota designs, contrasting artificial and ancestral intelligence.

Other Disciplines

  • Amber McCrary (Diné)Fiction/Poetry
    “Baa” is a novel concerning the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, which forcefully relocated communities as a result of corporate interests in coal extraction.
  • Kalyn Fay (Cherokee Nation, Muscogee descent)Music/Composition
    “A Garden Grew Behind the Shed” will be a full-length album exploring Cherokee cosmologies in relationship to family and geographic location.
  • Natalie Benally (Diné/Navajo)Dance/Film
    “Azhish: Stories In Motion Film Series/Performing Arts Youth Program” will include dance workshops and the creation of a dance film series.

NACF is grateful to the Leon Polk Smith Foundation, The Maxwell | Hanrahan Foundation, and A Revolutionary Press (New Haven, VT) for their support of the LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists program.

READ MORE about the LIFT program!


Gabriella Tagliacozzo
Director of Operations  

DOWNLOAD the press release!