Rodney C. Skenandore, Elk Chief, was born in a tent under a tree close to the Little Big Horn River Crow Indian Reservation, Crow Agency, Montana, USA 1939. His mother was Blackfeet, Flathead and 1/2 Scotch. His father was Full Blood Oneida. One of his ancestors was the Principle Chief Shenandoah who ceded land to the early colonists who in turn named a river and a valley after him. Another Great Grand Father on his mother's Piikani (Blackfeet) side was named 'Two Guns White Calf'. His profile is minted on one side of a nickle, a US 5-cent coin. One of his Great Grand Mothers wore the name and grace 'White Bear'...
Elk Chief left the reservation entering into the US-army 1956 being stationed in Europe, France, and later during the 1960th and the early 1970th served as a special investigator in Southeast Asia. Taking advantage of his G.I. bill he went to a design school funded by the US-Aorospace Industry, NASA, in Denver, Colorado, 1959 - 1961. There he received a Bachlor's Degree in Engineering Design and Drafting. He worked for NASA until 1968.
Rodney C. Skenandore – Elk Chief
In the late 1960th he joined the Lakota - amongst others - Indian activities to stand for the right of his Native People. He was one of the AIM founders(American Indian Movement) and became a Chairman 1969-1974, Denver Chapter, including for 1 year chairman also in Los Angeles. There he became the director of 'Talking Leaves', Indian Center News Letter.
Through tradition Rodney (Rod) Skenandore was authorized a Medicine Man and a Sun Dance Chief of the Lakota in 1969. He got this position by those old men such as Fouls Crow, Henry Crow Dog, John Fire Lame Deer and others of that status. He never quit his engagement for political and spiritual rights for Native people all over the world, for those who are engaged to protect natural life on earth...
Although his adventure in art began at an earlier age it was not until 1953 when open notice of his abilities took place in Sheridan, Wyoming at the 'First Miss Indian America Pageant and Pow - wow' plus the first Indian Art Expo which, owing to his mother's insights a painting on oil depicting the 'Village Crier' - a messenger of daily events - was entering into competition. Though the paint was still wet the judges deemed it worthy, none the less, and granted him an honorable 'Best of Show'. His competitive field at that time included such other Indian Artists already fairly well known such as AL MOMADAY, BRUMMET ECHO HAWK, WOODY CRUMBO, BLACK BEAR BOSIN and others.
Over the years, developing his talents and gaining extensive experiences of life, his work took on a direction which today has been improved upon taken him into his 70s quite inspired to continue, using learned perspective view that 'All of Life is an Art' to speak on and introduce issues - by the way of Art.
He has created many works in various media which includes designs, jewelry, wood carving, stone sculptures, furniture, music writing, receiving attention throughout the art world. His work like all art speaks for itself. His name is listed in the internet register 'Marqis Who is Who in the World in Art' and 'Who is Who in the American West in Art'.
Some other general listings of note:
1966-1968: He became involved with 'War Bonnet Enterprise', an all Indian owned and operated buisiness in Los Angeles, California, which produced amongst others: silk-screened textiles, calendars etc., with his designs leading the pack.
1967: One of his designs found its way to the Smithsonian Institute; the White House hung one within its halls as well.
1977: Knox Campbell Gallery Arizona: A copper life sized sculpture 'Osasala - Woman of the Circle' was exhibited. Museum of Natural History, Phoenix, Arizona: a collection of wood carvings and stone sculptures was shown, all not for sale.
1978-1987: He produced his designs on ceramic tiles plus other items while running a studio 'Red Rainbows, Costum Architectural Ceramics' starting out in Bisbee, Arizona, eventuelly moving it north to Colorado. His works were spread to Europe, to France, Germany, Italy.
1982 Browning, Montana, Plains Indian Museum: Exhibition of his tile work.
1994: Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia purchased work to be installed in his Aspen, Colorado home. The same year 'Architectural Digest' featured his designs, western furniture with either carvings or tiles on them. The magazine interviewed him about his thoughts being through tradition a Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief and how it might feel being recognized as an artist connected to Red Race Spiritual Philosophy.
1995: Western Design Conference in Cody, Wyoming, honored his carvings on another artist's furniture, Jimmy Covert, and recognized him again with a 'Best of Show' award.
Since the late 1990s he concentrated more on the art and his task as a healer for Mother Earth, nature and humans, and as a spiritual teacher.
He considered all of life as an art, a way of being dedicated to the positive spirits of life and healing. In his newer designs since 2013 he was using pastel tone of colors, so called 'new paradigm colors' for the frequencies that carry the connection between heart and mind leading beyond the simple awarness of a pattern. Creating his work he followed his inspiration which put him in touch with ancient instincts in contact with nature and her countless spirit worlds. He held an honorable PHD in Universal Spiritualism, presented from an All Indian University.
He did like to joke and couldn't stand stereotype of any kind. His engagement for the Earth brought him to Germany in 2003 along with other Native American Elders to speak at a Peace Conference in Freiburg. From 2007 - 2015 he resided with Gudrun, his German wife, in the Harz Mountains, Northern Germany, 2016 they both lived in Thermopolis Wyoming, USA, 2017 they came back to the Harz.
Rodney C. Skenandore - Elk Chief - passed the 25th of August 2017 in Goslar, Germany. His family, his wife and his friends miss him very much. He had a rich life and went in peace.
If you are interested in his art you may contact his wife Gudrun. You can find email and phone number under the contact button of this website.