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Humboldt

George N. Blake, you have acquired uncommon and exceptional knowledge of traditional Native American artistic crafts in your distinguished career. 

As a member of the Hupa and Yurok tribes, you have played a central role in the resurgence of Native California cultural life.  Your service in the U.S. Army, your studies at the College of the Redwoods, and your bachelor’s degree in art at the University of California, Davis, all contributed to your growth as a student of the region and the world.

You have been recognized for your work in a wide variety of media, including sculpture, jewelry, regalia, and contemporary pieces.  You are one of the few living people skilled in the traditional art of creating dugout canoes, and a neo-traditional Yurok dugout canoe that you built with students is in a place of honor in the Humboldt State University Library.

You have been at the forefront of Native American artistic expression.  You received a National Heritage Fellowship in 1991, the highest national honor awarded to a traditional artist.  Your work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Smithsonian Institution, and your artwork is part of collections at major institutions, including the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum at the University of California, Berkeley. 

You have included young artists in your work as a way to share your knowledge with future generations.  While you served as curator of the Hoopa Tribal Museum from 1980 to 1983, you organized a broad program to teach traditional arts to younger tribal members.

In recognition of your outstanding achievements as an educator and artist who is grounded in both Native American tradition and contemporary styles, we are honored to make this presentation today.