Cannupa Hanska Luger, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota / American, born 1979
Numakiki (Mandan)
Minitari (Hidatsa)
Sahnish (Arikara)
Lakota (Teton Sioux)



Mixed media life-size buffalo skeleton, sculptural installation; ceramic, steel, ribbon, fiber, and video

Height: 42 in. (106.7 cm)

Width: 80 in. (203.2 cm)

Depth: 80 in. (203.2 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Contemporary Art Fund, the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund, the Anonymous Fund #144, the Alvin and Mary Bert Gutman 1940 Acquisition Fund and the Acquisition and Preservation of Native American Art Fund



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area

Native American

Native American: Plains


Not on view


With this life-size ceramic American bison skeleton, Cannupa Hanska Luger reflects on the symbiotic relationships that sustain an environment. The buffalo, grasses, and people of the Plains in particular share a long history of nourishing one another. This ecosystem was drastically altered during the mid to late nineteenth-century, when the United States and its civilians waged a war of attrition against the region. As part of the broader project of westward expansion, settlers were encouraged to slaughter buffalo to collect bounty, ultimately reducing the estimated population of 60 million buffalo to just 1,500 by 1895.

"This loss of species not only affected my ancestors but also the land. Running down the center of North America, the Great Plains are one of the most endangered environments; many Indigenous grasses are dependent on the buffalo to thrive and have therefore also degenerated. In fact, there can be no true restoration without roaming herds of buffalo. (Be)Longing explores the cascading effects of a decimated species on our precious and interconnected environment.

(Be)Longing expresses how losing one species a hundred years ago has lasting effects in the 21st century. Through installation, sculpture and video, the piece implores audiences not to wait another hundred years to protect the next species in peril." -- Cannupa Hanska Luger

From the 2021 exhibition Form & Relation: Contemporary Native Ceramics, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art and Morgan E. Freeman, DAMLI Native American Art Fellow

Course History

NAS 30.21, Native American Art and Material, Jami Powell, Spring 2020

ANTH 11/NAS 11, Ancient Native Americans, Madeleine McLeester, Fall 2020

PORT 8, Brazilian Portraits, Carlos Cortez Minchillo, Winter 2021

LACS 22.11, Latinx Intergenerational Literature, Marcela di Blasi, Spring 2021

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Sienna Craig, Winter 2022

Exhibition History

Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande, September 28 – December 28, 2019, 516 ARTS, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Form and Relation: Contemporary Native American Ceramics, Citrin Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 9-November 29, 2020.

Publication History

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, with essays by Jami C. Powell, Anya Montiel and Sequoia Miller, Courtney M. Leonard, and Morgan E. Freeman. Form & Relation: Contemporary Native Ceramics, 2020, University of Washington Press (p. 29, 84, 85).


Cannupa Hanska Luger, Glorieta, New Mexico; sold to present collection, 2020.

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