Filmer Kewanyama is a humble person who enjoys drawing and painting about his life as a Hopi. Kewanyama, who lives in Prescott, Arizona, also spends his time hiking with his good friend James Heuerman.
Heuerman, a generous supporter of First Nations Development Institute, contacted First Nations President Michael Roberts about Kewanyama’s entry into a national art competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Kewanyama was selected out of 1,600 entries as the national winner for his painting titled “Homage to Hopi Code Talkers” that tells the story of the Hopi’s involvement in the U.S. military during the first two world wars. Kewanyama, a U.S. Army veteran of 21 years, will be traveling to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, New York, in October 2017 to receive his award.
Two news stories offer different and unique perspectives on Kewanyama’s life and work. One story in the Hopi Tutuveni newspaper offers cultural insight into his family and life in Hopi. A profile of Kewanyama and his military career is featured in Vantage Point, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (Click on the links to read the stories.)
Heuerman says Kewanyama’s tribute to the Hopi Code talkers is important in raising awareness of the fact that there are high numbers of Native Americans who have served and are serving in the U.S. military.
The National Native American Veterans Memorial website page – “Our Heroes Native American Soldiers in Our Midst” – cites that currently there are more than 31,000 Native Americans and Alaska Natives who are active military, and that Native Americans have historically served in higher numbers than other groups, prior to 9/11. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian was given the task by the U.S. Congress to create the memorial in Washington, D.C., by 2020.
First Nations hopes you enjoy reading more about the fine artistic work of Filmer Kewanyama, and learning more about the service of Native Americans in the military. Again, a big thanks to our friend and supporter James Heuerman for bringing us this story.