James Auchiah

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James Auchiah
Born Tsekoyate
(1906-11-17)November 17, 1906
Oklahoma, US
Died December 28, 1974(1974-12-28) (aged 68)
Carnegie, Oklahoma, US
Education University of Oklahoma
Known for Painting
Movement Kiowa Five

James Auchiah (1906–1974) was a Kiowa painter and one of the Kiowa Five from Oklahoma.[1]

Early life[edit]

James Auchiah was born on 17 November 1906 in Oklahoma Territory, near present day Meers and Medicine Park, Oklahoma.[1] His Kiowa name was Tsekoyate, meaning "Big Bow".[2] His father was Mark Auchiah, and his grandfathers were Chief Satanta and Red Tipi, a medicine man, bundle keeper and ledger artist,[3] respectively.

Auchiah first studied art at St. Patrick's Indian Mission School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, under Sister Olivia Taylor, a Choctaw nun. His love for art was such that in elementary school, he was caught painting in class. As a punishment, the teacher made him finish his painting instead of eating dinner. The young Auchiah said that was fine with him, as he told his teacher, "I would rather paint than eat."[4]

The field matron for the Kiowa agency, Susan Peters arranged for Mrs. Willie Baze Lane, an artist from Chickasha, Oklahoma to provide further art instruction for the young Indians, including Auchiah. Recognizing the talent of some of the young artists, Peters convinced Swedish-American artist, Oscar Jacobson, director of the University of Oklahoma's School of Art to accept the Kiowa students into a special program at the school.[5]

Kiowa Five[edit]

The Kiowa Five, now increasingly known as the Kiowa Six, included six artists: Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Lois Smoky and Monroe Tsatoke. James Auchiah was the last to join the group at OU in 1926.[5]

The Kiowa Five's first major breakthrough into international fine art world was the 1928 First International Art Exposition in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Dr. Jacobson arranged for their work to be shown in several other countries and for Kiowa Art, a portfolio of pochoir prints and artists' paintings, to be published in France.[5]

Individual pursuits[edit]

During the 1920s and 1930s, Auchiah painted murals at the Oklahoma Historical Society, St. Patrick's Mission School, and the United States Department of the Interior.[2][4]

As his art progressed, he incorporated more imagery from the Native American Church, of which he was a leader. His work became more stylized, symbolic, and visionary.[6]

He joined the US Coast Guard during World War II. Later he taught art and was an illustrator for the US Department of the Interior.[3] Auchiah also worked at the US Army Artillery and Missile Center Museum in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was a curator there.[1]

Public collections[edit]

Auchiah's work can be found in the following public art collections:


Auchiah died in Carnegie, Oklahoma on 28 December 1974,[1][3][4] although it is sometimes listed as being in 1975.[2][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Watson, Mary Jo. Auchiah, James (1906-1974). Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (28 April 2009)
  2. ^ a b c Reno, 13
  3. ^ a b c d Lester, 30
  4. ^ a b c About Kiowa Five. Jacobson House. (28 April 2009)
  5. ^ a b c Pochoir prints of ledger drawings by the Kiowa Five, 1929. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. (retrieved 24 April 2009)
  6. ^ Swan, 78–79
  7. ^ James Auchiah (1906-1975). AskArt (retrieved 28 April 2009)


  • Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.
  • Reno, Dawn. Contemporary Native American Artists. Brooklyn, NY: Alliance Publishing, 1995. ISBN 0-9641509-6-4.
  • Swan, Daniel C. Peyote Religious Art: Symbols and Faith and Belief. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1999. ISBN 1-57806-096-6.
  • Wyckoff, Lydia L., ed. Visions and Voices: Native American Painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art. Tulsa, OK: Philbrook Museum of Art, 1996. ISBN 0-86659-013-7.

External links[edit]