Breanna Green was just 15 when she began pursuing art. Since then, her pieces have been featured throughout her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the exhibitions have prompted praise all over Indian country.
“She has an incredible ability to tell amazing stories through her paintings,” said Ojibwe rap artist and activist Mic Jordan.
Green, who is a member of the Red Lake Nation of Anishinaabe, and also a descendent of Ho-Chunk, Lakota, Potawatomi, Oneida, and Stockbridge Munsee Nations, said her art draws upon her unique cultural background, as well as her creative interpretation of life. “My favorite thing about art is that I don’t have to explain myself. The images do that for me,” she said.
Green was recently awarded with the Dream Warriors Scholarship for young indigenous artists pursuing the arts after high school by Dream Warriors Management, a company comprised of a group of indigenous artists. “As an artist, I always imagine how my art will affect other people,” Green wrote in her winning essay. “Practicing art is medicine in itself.”
Green is a recent graduate of South High All Nations magnet program, which offers Native American students with culturally relevant curriculum. She plans on attending Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis in the fall to study Graphic Design.
“As a young Native artist, I feel very honored to be recognized for my talents,” says Green. “Receiving this scholarship has motivated me to more forward and push myself to become a better artist. I am very humbled.”
The Dream Warriors scholarship application asks applicants to respond to the essay question, “What does it mean to you to be a dream warrior?”
In her essay, Green wrote, “A long time ago, a warrior was someone who sacrificed things, sometimes their life, to save their people. Today a warrior is someone who sacrifices their time, energy and their spirit to build, create and teach their people in order to save them. Revitalizing your language makes you a warrior. Making any type of art makes you a warrior. Sometimes doing these types of things can be emotionally, spiritually and mentally draining. Warriors sacrifice these things to bring these gifts to the world so their community can heal.”
In addition to writing a winning essay, Green submitted copies of some of her recent work.
In the future, Green would like to explore other art mediums, such as photography, she said. “I get my inspiration from my community and my culture. Visual arts especially is a great key to unlocking my creativity. It helps me understand myself more as a young Indigenous woman.”
Green is also a student of the Ojibwe language, and a traditional lacrosse player with the Mni Sota Warrior Lacrosse team for the Twin Cities. She attends ceremonies and enjoys spending time with her family to learn new things about her culture and history, she said. “The teachings of the Anishinaabe people bring a beautiful aspect to my work,” Green added. “I’m hoping that others will see these images and find healing in their own lives.”
Green’s art has also been featured at the Oscar Howe Art Institute with the University of South Dakota.