Select Page

Writer Gordon Lee Johnson Blends Modern Life with Cultural Tradition

Dec 5, 2018

Gordon Lee Johnson writes primarily to tell the stories of today’s California Indian, but he is also interested in addressing the universal human condition.

 

Featured in a recent Los Angeles Times article on California Native American artists and the struggle to preserve their culture in the modern world, Johnson says in the piece that he writes to reflect a sense of home to Native readers, and he hopes they feel more alive after reading his work.  

Gordon Lee Johnson, SAR 2017 Indigenous Writer in Residence.

The author of two books—Fast Cars and Frybread: Reports From the Rez and Bird Songs Don’t Life: Writings From the Rez—the Cahuilla and Cupeño novelist and essayist from the Pala reservation in northern San Diego County was the recipient of SAR’s Indigenous Writer in Residence Fellowship in 2017. The purpose of the fellowship is to advance the work of an indigenous writer by supporting an author’s exploration of new avenues of creativity.

A former news columnist and feature writer, Johnson left journalism 10 years ago to focus on fiction and is currently working on a mystery novel set on the rez. Yet even with his focus on modern Native life in California, Johnson hasn’t forgotten his traditions, cultural identity and the issue of who defines the Native American experience. He states in the Times article:

I’m a simple guy, but I think Native art is an expression of cultural sovereignty, which, in the biggest picture, is the ability of Native people to determine who they are. And it begs the question: What is Native art? I think it is an exploration of cultural identity. Read “How Native Americans in the Arts are preserving tradition in a changing world” online…

Also mentioned in the Times article is Eva Scott Fenyes, the grandmother of Leonora Curtain Paloheimo of the Paloheimo Foundation, which provides support for SAR’s ongoing programs.

Follow SAR

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jun 19 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday Summer Tours The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is[...]
Jun
21
Fri
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jun 21 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is home to works[...]
Jun
23
Sun
2019
5:00 pm President’s Circle Event: Summer... @ Forked Lightning Ranch
President’s Circle Event: Summer... @ Forked Lightning Ranch
Jun 23 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
President's Circle Event: Summer Solstice at Forked Lightning Ranch @ Forked Lightning Ranch
President’s Circle Event Summer Solstice at Forked Lightning Ranch Date: Sunday, June 23, 5:00-8:00PM Admission: Free event for members of the Board of Directors, Founders’ Society, President’s Circle, and special guests. Please RSVP to Lindsay Archuleta at archuleta@sarsf.org or[...]
Jun
26
Wed
2019
10:00 am SAR Summer Salon – Historic Chur... @ Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, SAR
SAR Summer Salon – Historic Chur... @ Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, SAR
Jun 26 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
SAR Summer Salon – Historic Churches as Symbols and the Meanings of Restoration @ Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, SAR | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
This salon has reached capacity. Concluding the 2018–2019 Creative Thought Forum theme of tradition and innovation, SAR presents our Summer Salons: conversation-style discussions exploring topics of broad social concern with leading experts. Learn more about[...]
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jun 26 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday Summer Tours The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is[...]
Jun
27
Thu
2019
8:30 am Field Trip: Historic Churches of... @ Meet at SAR Campus
Field Trip: Historic Churches of... @ Meet at SAR Campus
Jun 27 @ 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Field Trip: Historic Churches of Northern New Mexico @ Meet at SAR Campus | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Historic Churches of Northern New Mexico Church in Northern New Mexico. Photo by Frank Graziano. Thursday, June 27, 2019 Cost per person: $215 (Includes a $25 non-refundable tax-deductible donation to SAR) Field trip limited to[...]
Jun
28
Fri
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jun 28 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is home to works[...]
Jul
3
Wed
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jul 3 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday Summer Tours The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is[...]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share this

Share this post with your friends!