Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

In 1934, Allan came to Santa Fe to study art at the Santa Fe Indian School, changing his name from Haozous (which means "the sound of pulling roots") to Houser. "Dorothy Dunn was the first teacher I had." Allan studied painting, but he "wanted more," and said, "I had something else in mind when I came here. I didn't want to do Indian-style paintings. I didn't care for it at all, but that was the only way that I could get into the arts." Dunn objected to some of the things Allan wanted to do, and told her student, "We don't do that here." In 1962, when Allan became a teacher at the Institute of American Indian Arts, his students heard a different message. "We do everything." Allan met his wife of more than fifty years, the former Anna Marie Gallegos of Abiquiu, in Santa Fe. Allan and Anna Marie raised five sons.

Allan received his first commission for a sculpture in 1949 from the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas—a memorial in stone of Indian servicemen killed in World War II. He later received a Guggenheim grant in sculpture and painting. "When I won my Guggenheim fellowship, I said I wanted to become one of the best—whether painter or sculptor—in the world. That's what my efforts are going to be, whether I get there or not," he said.

"Allan taught a whole generation of new Indian artists," said Robert Breunig, former chief curator of the Heard Museum in Phoenix. "I think we can safely say he is the father of contemporary Indian sculpture."

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes