Honored to Showcase Mary Lee Prescott – Oneida Tribe – As Our Artist of the Month

MaryPrescott

Mary Lee Prescott

Since her earliest recollections of painting, with the red tulips she painted on her father’s old pile of wooden planks, when she was four-years-old.  It has been a never-ending love affair with art ever since.  Her talents include oil and acrylic painting along with corn husk doll making and painted eagle feathers.  Like many Indian artists, Mary is completely self-taught.  From 1981 to 1984, Mary was employed as an assistant director for the Oneida Nation Museum.  While there, she designed and created three museum exhibits at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, WI.  Each exhibit dealt with a different clan of the Oneida tribe.  All the material and information for these exhibits were gathered from elders and traditional sources.  Afterwards, backdrops and exhibit cases were built and painted with artifacts placed in position with her artistic skills.  Mary won a poster contest in 1994 from Milwaukee Indian Summerfest.  The Oneida tribe purchased hundreds of her Iroquois corn husk dolls and gave them away to dignitaries all over the world.  Themes of her acrylic and oil paintings deal mostly with Oneida and Iroquois subjects.  Her paintings range from 5”x7” up to her murals 7′ x 25′.  In 1990, Mary Prescott moved to Nashville, Tennessee with her daughter, Angela Lee.  While working at Indian Health Service, she met an old friend, Duane Prescott, from the Ho Chunk Nation of WI.  They were married in 1993.  Duane persuaded her to take her artistic talents on the pow-wow trail and they have traveled all over the US until Mary retired a few years ago.  Mary and Duane now reside in Indianapolis, Indianna  ~ since 2006.   

"Corn Husk Family."  Copyright (c) 2013 Mary Lee Prescott.  All Rights Reserved.

“Corn Husk Family.” Copyright (c) 2013 Mary Lee Prescott. All Rights Reserved.

Now imagine this elder Native American artist having enjoyed a lifelong career in painting.  Then one day, Mary, has difficulty holding the paint brush, along with difficulty in maintaining balance while standing, all of which is aggravated by the distress of not doing so, thus becoming a drag on the inspiration to paint.  Mary decides to visit a doctor to see what the problem is, and upon doing so is told she has Parkinson-like symptoms.  Mary goes to a second doctor and is dealt with the stunning diagnosis: Parkinson’s Disease.

 Mary could be among the 2,600-plus Native Americans in the United States afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease—a finding derived from a study published in 2012 by a group of U.S. government health researchers.  Another finding in the study was that little if any research has been conducted to identify the extent of Parkinson’s Disease in Indian Country, whether it is highlighting key risk factors for the disease unique to Native Americans, or the extent of complementary or alternative therapies available in the public health care system in Indian Country.  In 2013, Mary enrolled in non-contact boxing program offered by Rock Steady Boxing Inc.  The Woodlands Tribal Artists Association has been developing the Artist Overcoming Parkinson’s Disease project, whose goal is to enhance the quality of life of Native American artists and others across the U.S. diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. To accomplish this goal, the project would entail a community health needs assessment involving a simple survey, followed by public health education that would include information about evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies.

The following Internet link is to the project’s website, which provides more information and means to support the project: 

www.razoo.com/story/artistsovercomingparkinsons

Contingent upon funding, the project would last for at least 12 months with the prospect of a group of Indian Tribes and urban Indian communities across the U.S. participating in the project.

The Association is committed to collaborating with Tribal organizations and an accredited university on the project, so as to ensure that it would be carried out in a culturally appropriate and ethical manner. The project is an equal opportunity one, whereby non-artists and non-Indians living in or near participating Indian communities may freely participate as well.

All donations for the project through Razoo.com go to the Woodlands Tribal Artists Association Inc. and are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Thank you in advance for your support.   

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Copyright (c) Woodlands Tribal Artists Association Inc.
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