Jordan Armajo is 17, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and a Junior at Lander Valley High School. She is also the winner of the 2022 Congressional Art Award for her oil portrait of Sisters. We were introduced to Jordan by her grandmother, Arlene Santillanes, a program coordinator at the Doya Natsu Healing Center. We wanted a local artist to help design an image and concept for the 2022 Annual Report. After several meetings with the AKA design team, Jordan completed the drawing.
We met up with Jordan at the Cowfish Grill in Lander, Wyoming to learn more about her passion, culture, and dreams after she graduates from high school.
I've been doing art since I was a kid. It’s an outlet for me… I paint at school or at home… My favorite is definitely oil paintings. And I love to draw people and portraits. My recent painting of my grandfather is one of my favorites… I like how it shows how I have improved just in the last year. He has his regalia on, a traditional outfit. My biggest accomplishment in the art world so far is winning the Congressional Art Award, out of 5000 students they picked my art. I was surprised and shocked, I didn’t think I would win. My art was displayed at the capital for a year. I learned by myself. My mom is a painter too. Looking ahead, I want to go to college and major in art. Maybe Santa Fe… My advice for any artist is that you are always going to learn. Learn as you go. Achievements will come later. I got extremely lucky. I try to create a balance with my artwork. When I was working on the design for Doya Natsu Healing Center I used the Medicine Mountains and the colors they wanted. I always use four things in my art. Four directions. Four is a powerful number. When I was drawing these women, I thought about our powwow dances and how much medicine they give to earth…
"I do art because I want to give back to my family. It is spiritual for me. I put my energy into it. My love is there."
AKA’s mission is to work every day to build equity, connection, and advocacy for the people, organizations, and communities that we serve. AKA invests in communities and builds capacity for programs long after grant funded programs end. Our previous work tells us that when interns and community members are involved, programs and evaluations are more meaningful, culturally-relevant, and sustainable. This is our ultimate goal.
Art like Jordan’s tells stories and conveys meaning that words never will. Her art instills hope, uplifts tradition, and honors the sacredness of women.