FALLS, Idaho Bree Blackhorse just graduated from Seattle
Pacific University with a degree in political science and a 3.2
GPA. The remarkable thing is that she did it in just three years
while working full-time and traveling around the country with her
parents going to powwows and art events. Seattle University School
of Law was impressed and gave her its Native Scholar Award for 2010.
It's a $120,000 scholarship which will pay her way through three
years of law school.
what does this dynamic young woman aspire to after receiving the
law degree? "I would like to work on the corporate side of
law. Corporate law provides a lot of connections. Eventually my
dream is to be a U.S. Senator but I also want to help Indian people."
She isn't positive on how to best do that but she sees education
as an important step, "not just undergraduate but advanced
a way to be successful both in Native country and the outside more
mainstream world. I think a lot of the characteristics fostered
in powwow or art are really useful and applicable."
is enrolled with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, her mother's
tribe, and Blackfeet on her father's side. Both parents are
established artists. Catherine Blackhorse is a textile designer,
ledger artist and designer. Terrance Guardipee is an internationally
acclaimed painter and ledger artist with many awards and has work
featured in numerous museums across this country and Germany.
was born and raised in Seattle but maintains a strong cultural identity.
Part of that comes from the large amount of time she has spent at
powwows with her parents. "I was powwow princess for Edmonds Community
College as well as Gonzaga University." Bree is also a traditional
through my undergraduate years I was really outspoken because I
was a minority view. I was the only person of color in most of my
classes; actually it was mostly all rich white kids. So mine was
always a different point of view. But having to speak to every person
at an art show and be able to sell them an expensive piece, or being
powwow royalty and getting up in front of hundreds or thousands
of people and speak, really gave me that confidence and that ability.
speak a little bit of the language and know most of the history.
I've written several papers about it. One of my papers was
on how women were traditionally viewed and how that plays out now
in women's role in tribal government."
is also an accomplished artist. She has exhibited at the Heard Museum
Indian Art Market the past three or four years and at the Tesoro
Indian Art Market in Denver in addition to various other locations.
She was exhibiting her art work at Julyamsh at the time of this
interview. "I do a lot of art from Seminole culture because
there's not a whole lot of Seminole artists. I'll integrate
our traditional patchwork designs into a contemporary form. I use
a lot of old photographs in mixed media pieces and I also do some
accomplishments are all in addition to working. "I got a job when
I was 16 and worked full-time up until a couple of weeks ago (July).
I was a sales person at Nordstrom in the lingerie department. It's
all commission and I've been in sales my entire life so it was a
natural fit," in reference to selling her art at numerous events.
Morrison, a nationally recognized Native artist, has known Bree
and her parents for a number of years. "I've seen her
(Bree) blossom into the beautiful young lady she now is. She's
very smart, well-spoken, well-educated and very respectful. She
represents our Native American community in a fantastic way and
has a dynamite bright future ahead of her."
had similar comments about his daughter. "She is an exceptional
young woman. She's now off to law school and representing Indian
country very well to be a professional woman and lawyer. Her art
career is also going well, but I think she's going to stick to being
a huge reason I am who I am between my art and powwows," Bree
said of her father. "He's always been very encouraging
and very supportive."
loves to hike and do outdoor things. Now that she's not working
full-time she has more time. "I want to do Mt. Rainier. I've
done Mt. Hood before. It's a 12,000-foot peak."
bright, articulate, attractive young woman is one to watch in years