D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas.
"My people are known as the Sioux or Lakota. During the 19th century
they were renowned as the Horse People of the Great Plains. My ancestors
were also the people of the Buffalo, for the Buffalo gave them most
of their food, their warm robes, and the lodge skins of their tipis.
My people followed great herds of them across the vast grasslands
beneath an endless blue sky." Nelson's artwork appears on book jackets,
greeting cards, and CD covers, and his paintings are held in both
private and public collections. He has written and illustrated numerous
award-winning children's books.
D. Nelson earned his bachelor's degree in Art at Minnesota State
University at Moorhead. His paintings offer a fresh contemporary
interpretation of traditional Lakota images. S. D. has painted extensively
on animal skins and bone. He has crafted traditional rawhide drums,
beaded on leather and created ledger book drawings. Nelson's fluid
style and traditional Native American imagery combines movement,
color, and form into a visual celebration of life.
the prairies of Dakota there is only earth and sky. All is grass
and clouds, forever. It is a land of brutal beauty, where terrible
battles were fought hand to hand, and where at twilight the song
of Sister Meadowlark will make your heart cry. As a boy, my mother
told me traditional stories about Coyote, the Trickster and Iktomi,
the Spider. I learned that the stars were the spirits of my ancestors,
that my great-great grandfather, Flying Cloud, still rode his snorting
horse along the White Road of the Milky Way. If I looked carefully,
Mom said, I would see the Great Bear and the Star That Did Not Turnthe
North Star. She told me the Life Force, or the Great Mystery, is
named Wakan Tanka, that all of creation, the four-legged beings,
the tall standing trees, even the wind has a spirit and is alive.
remember one particular summer night... cricket song filled my ears.
Then, shimmering overhead, the Northern Lights came dancing, pale
green at first, then in ethereal robes of red and gold; spiraling
ever upward; colors vanishing, only to reappear. Although I was
staring directly into the heavens, from the corner of my eye, I
saw something. The sacred something that Lakota People believe is
behind all things. I was only a boy, but I was seeing in a Wakan
manner, in a sacred way.
My mother, who was a quarter-blood Sioux Indian, taught me at
an early age to see the world with both the curious eyes of a child
and the wistful eyes of an old man. I learned that morning is the
most beautiful time. For at dawn the world is born anew. It is the
time when the little flying creatures make their song. The little
green growing things are covered in precious dewdrops. At dawn,
all is golden. All is beautiful.
I have not forgotten those long ago teachings... `Walk with
your vision in your heart. The boy with the eyes of an artist was
given a gift - to see things in the Wakan manner. In turn, I became
a painter and a teller of stories."