We Dare Tell
Interview with Corwin-Corky Clairmont
"You want to contribute something that only you can contribute."
"When I moved back to the Reservation it gave me a chance to
re-associate with my community."
"So this, (Eagle Circle Monument), is really about the community."
"For the past four years I've been working on a project called the
Warrior Memorial and it's dedicated to all of our Tribal people that
have protected or Tribes as warriors in an honorable way. And this
is dedicated not only to those of contemporary time but all, in other
words those who served in World War 1, World War II, the Vietnam
and the Middle East and all of those conflicts. But also the warriors
that have protected our families and homelands prior to contact, in
other words those who were here several hundred years before who
were protecting and helping us out. Because if it wasn't for them we
may not be here."
"So this project I'm doing is dedicated to our protectors and this is
men and women."
Corky is a celebrated contemporary artist, combining his experience as a native person and tribal member with a post-modernist view of the realities of life as indigenous people struggle to retain their identities and sovereignty into the 21st century. He is also a teacher, mentor and a community activist, and lives in Ronan, Montana. A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Corky was the art director at Salish Kootenai College from 1984-2011. He was also an instructor and printmaking department head at Otis/Parsons Art Institute in LA.
Corky holds a BA from MSU, did a graduate fellowship at San Fernando State University and received an MFA from California State University at Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited from coast to coast and around the world, including Germany and New Zealand, and has been reviewed by the New York Times. He also designed the cover and emblem for the American Indian Library Association and a large granite warrior memorial for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation in 2007. He has received a Ford Foundation grant, NEA and MAC grants, a fellowship award from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. In 2008 Corky was awarded the 2008 Montana Governor's Arts Award for Visual Art.