DoPiKa: A Land Acknowledgment exhibit

Explore art and culture of the Indigenous people and artists who made and continue to make Topeka and Shawnee County their home. See the DoPiKa: A Land Acknowledgment exhibit in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery Sept 8 – Nov 26, 2023. This exhibit is a collaboration with Lisa LaRue-Baker, Cherokee tribal citizen and Gallerist of 785 Arts.

DoPiKa will acknowledge and honor the original inhabitants of Shawnee County: the Osage, Kaw, Delaware, Potawatomi, Shawnee and Wyandotte nations. Many tribes have cultivated the land, built homes, named the flora and fauna, and were forcibly moved to, and away from Shawnee County. Often the history of Topeka and Shawnee County leaves out the many Nations that have called this land home.

Featured artists

You will find art in a variety of mediums and styles in DoPiKa. Explore abstract paintings, mixed-media fiber art, photography, contemporary paintings, jewelry, sound art, digital art, beadwork and textiles from the following artists:

  • Joe Don Brave (Osage) painting
  • Lydia Cheshewalla (Osage) digital art
  • Michael Daugherty (Eastern Shawnee) painting
  • Gayle Dowell (Osage) jewelry
  • Benjamin Harjo Jr. (Absentee Shawnee/Seminole) painting
  • Robert Hicks (Pyramid Lake Paiute) digital photography
  • Joan Hill (Creek-Cherokee) painting
  • Lisa LaRue-Baker (Cherokee Nation) mixed media
  • America Meredith (Cherokee Nation) painting
  • Wendy Ponca (Osage) textile and painting
  • Konrad Pumpkin Seed (Oglala Lakota Sioux) mixed media
  • Emily Westfall (Citizen Potawatomi) painting

Featured Programming

Exhibit Opening Reception
Friday, September 08 | 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Enjoy refreshments and be among the first to explore the new exhibit of art and culture of the Indigenous people and artists who made and continue to make Topeka and Shawnee County their home.

Native Origins of Shawnee County
Wednesday, September 13 | 7 -8 pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Explore history before European settlement and the locations of the six tribes who were removed to make way for Shawnee County. Learn about these tribes and their current locations today.

Artist talk with Konrad Pumpkin Seed 
Thursday, September 21 | 7 -8 pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Join Konrad Pumpkin Seed (Oglala Lakota Sioux), a neo-expressionist visual artist, as he discusses his work and the variety of materials he uses.

The Story of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Thursday, October 5 | 7 – 8pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Discover the rich history of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and its continued presence in Shawnee County with local historian Jon Boursaw.

Jason the Native Chef 
Wednesday, October 11 | 7 -8 pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Native Chef Jason Champagne, MPH, will talk about his journey to founding Native Chef LLC, and how Traditional Native Foods has assisted him with regaining a culture he never had.

Basketmaking with Lisa LaRue-Baker 
Sunday, October 15 | 1 – 3pm
Learning Center
Join artist Lisa LaRue-Baker (Cherokee Nation) to learn the materials and techniques used to make a double wall basket using reeds. Ages 12 and up. Registration required. 

Artist Talk with Robert Hicks
Sunday, October 22
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Join Robert Hicks (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe) as he discusses his work.

Artist Talk with Becki Waugh
Wednesday, October 25 | 7 – 8pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Becki will talk about her life as an artist and her artistic process, including the making of an illustrated historical map of Shawnee County featured in the DoPiKa: A Land Acknowledgement exhibit.

A History of the American Indian Boarding School
Wednesday, November 1 | 7 – 8pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
The American Indian story is one of cultural survival, but what are the next steps for reckoning with this difficult and painful part of our national history? Renewed calls for investigations into the abuses to American Indian children have brought new scrutiny to the boarding school system. This talk will examine the thinking behind the creation of federal schools for youth including Haskell Indian Nations University, originally known as the United States Indian Industrial Training School, and how this system affected Native communities in the short and long term. Presented by Eric Anderson a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and professor of history at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence.

Beading with Artist Monique Mercurio
Sunday, November 05 
Learning Center
Artist Monique Mercurio will teach the basics of beading including the peyote stitch. Ages 16 and up. Registration required – this event is full.

Developing a Land Acknowledgment
Wednesday, November 15 | 7 – 8:30pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Accuracy and engagement are key to developing a Land Acknowledgement and even more important is ensuring it is not performative and insincere. Presented by Lisa LaRue Baker (Cherokee Nation).

Rebuilding Native Ecosystems
Sunday, November 19 | 2 – 3pm
Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Courtney King, Lead Student Researcher at the greenhouse at Haskell Indian Nations University, will talk about the projects she has started this past year including growing sacred medicines and culturally significant food crops, and restoring native ecosystems on campus. These projects will help (re)connect Native Americans with the plants of their people while rebuilding a community surrounding the land at Haskell.


Check back from more programming throughout the exhibit.




As the library’s communications editor Ginger helps spread the word about all the amazing library resources, services and staff. She loves reading fiction and is working to keep her To Be Read list under 100. Ginger is also a volunteer at Helping Hands Humane Society.