Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Lloyd Kiva New

Lloyd Kiva New


Honored June, 1989

Lloyd Kiva New

The Institute of American Indian Arts should do one simple thing," says Lloyd Kiva New. "It should add to its vision--its goals, its objectives--an obligation to help every student who goes there make a good living." He insists, "One word 'design' needs to be added to the name. Indian artists have been designers forever. At present, the institute is to train fine artists. Just think what we could contribute if we launched a series of programs in the area of design. Ultimately, we would have a whole new set of Indian furniture designers, fabric designers, fashion designers."

Lloyd arrived in Santa Fe in 1961 to serve as "the institute's art director and set up the arts program," he said. He served as the institute's president from 1965 to 1978, and returned in 1988 to guide the school through its separation from Bureau of Indian Affairs administration.

Born the tenth child "to a full-blood Cherokee mother and a Scott/Irish father" in 1916, he lived on a farm in northeastern Oklahoma. "By the time I was born, my mother had been injured while working in the hog pen, and she couldn't lift me."

One of the first things that fascinated him was clay. "I assume that I made the typical things that a five year old would make, little farm animals," he said. "I remember doing some dishes and things of that kind. My mother would bake little things I made in the wood oven as she was preparing meals."

An older sister became Lloyd's "nursemaid." "I was about eight when she got married. My mother asked her to take me and raise me. I think she knew that I wasn't going to make it on the farm, particularly with my father not being sympathetic to things other than doing his job, which was to make a living for the family."

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