Lonnie Alexander

One of Lonnie's Photos

Lonnie Alexander, whose Indian name is Tsa-Nah, was born 69 years ago on the Nez Perce Reservation at Spaulding, Idaho. Now, after five children, 10 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a 35-year career as an RN she is an artist.

Alexander’s poignant photos of people of all ages from the Umatilla Reservation, where she has lived since 1951, represent her effort to preserve the images of people she terms "our treasures". She also photographs traditional dancers.

"We are so rich in tradition and culture, that maintaining it is vital, and photography is a good method of documentation," says Alexander. "The people shown here, even those who have gone ahead, are much loved and respected as teachers and role models - our history. We need the connection to the past and the empowerment for the years to come. The generation yet to be will see the beauty of the past."

According to Alexander, she is not a professional, only "an avid picture taker of my people in their natural environment." But as befits an artist who paints striking portraits with oils, which she took up in 1991, her photos have an emotional quality that sticks.

Alexander also works in watercolor, sculpture, stained glass, ceramics, printmaking, acrylic and in traditional Plateau Tribal arts, including beadwork and weaving. She has taught many workshops at Crow's Shadow Art Institute, most recently on the making of traditional cradleboards. Numerous awards in regional art competitions attest to the quality of her work.

Expressing a traditional respect for those who taught her, she credits her mother, Annette Pinkham Burke, for teaching her traditional arts and crafts, the St. Anthony School of Nursing for her long career as an RN and Gloria Harper, who taught and encouraged Alexander in her first artistic efforts.

Mailing Address:

Lonnie Alexander
73424 Burke Rd., Box A 5
Cayuse, Oregon 97821