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Dancing for my Tribe

“The whole idea of my project is to capture the essence of Potawatomi traditions and create a place in history for the Tribe. Preserving the faces, stories, and regalia of modern Potawatomi will contribute to a better understanding of their transformed place in the diverse life of America.”

Sharon Hoogstraten, a Citizen Potawatomi Nation member and Welch-family descendent, was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She received her Bachelors of Science in Professional Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

A photographer, animator and graphic designer, Sharon is best known for her portraits of Potawatomi in regalia. To date, she has taken close to 200 photographs of Potawatomi people from Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma and Canada. Her large-format canvas portraits have been exhibited in numerous museums and institutions, and are included in the permanent collections of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center, Trickster Gallery and National Museum of the American Indian. Hoogstraten was a major contributor to the group show, “Footprints Through Time” at the State Museum of Illinois as well as opening two one-woman shows in the soaring atrium of the Thompson Center, Chicago.

“I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for everyone who had a hand in helping with this project and for the individuals who were willing to take time out of their lives to posing for the images.”

Sharon Hoogstraten