‘We’re still here:’ How Indigenous art is retelling the Yellowstone story

Jake Iverson

Art, in a lot of ways, is about the intersection between the human and the natural. What we create, and the process by which we create it, is about our personal experience trying to live in this crazy, random, often violent world we’ve been placed into.

In that way, art about Yellowstone Park makes sense. Few places on the planet are more naturally and spiritually evocative. It’s hard to be there and not wonder about your place in the universe.

The park has always inspired great art. Long before it inspired your dad’s favorite TV show, Yellowstone stirred painters like Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, whose work is archetypical of the Hudson River School, that painting technique that makes the natural world look like a dream, forever stuck in the golden hour.

William Henry Jackson’s photography of the park helped solidify it as America’s first National Park. Even Frank Jay Haynes captured views of the Yellowstone so iconic they became postcards, cheap mementos for tourists to pass around once they got home.

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