United Tribes Technical College Displays History Through Native Art

The art gallery at United Tribes Technical College is open to the public and is brimming with artwork from Native American artists.

For those wanting to see a vast collection of Native American art, United Tribes Technical College is the place to be.

The log-style building on the north side of the campus in Bismark, North Dakota houses a collection of two and three dimensional artwork by Native American artists that took 30 years to obtain.

"I don’t think you’ll see anything like this anywhere in the country, you’d probably have to go a long ways to the big museums, Cody, Wyoming, and Billings, the Russell Gallery, the Cowboy Hall of Fame. This is spectacular," artist Vern Erickson told KFYR-TV.

The collection is currently being appraised, but gallery director Jess Clairmont estimates its value to be between $1 million and $2 million. Some of the oldest pieces in the collection include beaded work donated by UTTC President David Gipp’s family.

"They’re originally from the Standing Rock reservation and the collection itself goes back over 125 years and we want to be an archival agency for the owners of United Tribes," Clairmont told KFYR-TV.

"They’re sticking to their heritage and that’s what I like to see. You can see some of the pieces are done by the elders. The bead work and the quilt work and designs, it shows up real good,” Erickson told KFYR-TV. “This is an outstanding collection here."

The school plans to expand the gallery over the next five years and open a gift shop soon. The gallery is open to the public and free. Viewing hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.