Dana Tiger follows her fatherís footsteps, feels his presence near her, lives his legacy.
When she reached the crossroads of despair and survival more than 16 years ago, she said, his spirit reached her, reminded her of her heritage and picked her back up.
Now, the Cherokee/Creek/Seminole artist wants to do the same for other native youths. And she is through the creation of the Legacy Cultural Learning Community, to be located on the border of Cherokee and Sequoyah counties in northeastern Oklahoma.
Tiger will sell 360 of her prints, each with an original touch, during the Red Earth 2001 Festival this weekend at the Myriad Convention Center.
For the 15th year, Red Earth will host members from more than 150 American Indian nations from throughout North America. Organizers bill it as "Americaís Largest Native American Cultural Festival."
It will feature more than 750 works of art by top American Indian painters, sculptors, jewelry makers and others in the art market; drum groups and dancers from Northern and Southern tribes; a youth art market and authentic American Indian cuisine.
Traditional and contemporary paintings, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, drawings, cultural items and attire will be showcased.
Through the sale of the prints, Tiger said, she hopes to pay for the land she has bought for the Legacy project. More donations have already been made for the construction of the buildings.
The community will have a Cherokee museum, cabins for lodging and a center where instructors will teach American Indian youths about their culture and their art.
"Next year, weíll be teaching there. I can hardly believe that next year weíll be helping them, helping them change their lives around," Tiger said in a telephone interview from her home studio near Keys, OK.
For Tiger, the cultural community is the perfect blend of art and activism ó the two things to which she has committed her life.
"Daddy left me his legacy when he died. This is my chance to leave mine."
Jerome Tiger died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head when his eldest daughter was only 5 years old.
But now, at 39, Tiger still remembers her father as a "magnetic, charismatic man."