Adam Fortunate Eagle

Although he is a Chippewa from Minnesota, Adam Fortunate Eagle has become an established artist in Nevada's native American community.

At his home on Fallon's Stillwater Reservation—his wife's native home—he has a well-equipped shop and a gallery where he makes and shows his stone carvings. Although he creates some contemporary sculptures, Fortunate Eagle developed his stone-working skills on traditional pipes, made from a red stone that is quarried in Minnesota. Blanks are roughed out with a hacksaw, and then shaped with files, sandpaper and steel wool to a smooth finish. He often carves animal figures into his pipes as well. The pipe is completed with a wooden stem, which is usually decorated with beadwork.

Fortunate Eagle taught two of his grandsons the art of pipe making. Each made one to use in his manhood ceremony, which involved a sweat lodge ceremony, spiritual teachings from their grandfather, and a night spent alone on a desert mountain.

For Fortunate Eagle, pipe making is "more than just teaching kids the craft, it's teaching them a culture."

Adam Fortunate Eagle received a Governor's Arts Award in 1996.

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