August 28, 2017 · The Great Chief Star

Kisci-Okima- Achak was inspired by Cree cosmologies (see definitions below).



The painting of the seven suspended laser cut metal thunderbolt paintings started out inspired by the Hopi Prophecy Rock (before it was cut). A digital drawing of the constellation Lyra, was then mapped over the 10’x5’ sheet of metal. Venus (Morning Star) became the markers for the starts in the constellation Lyra. This map was then laser cut out of the metal. Thunderbolts shapes were used to symbolize dramatic change as well as other cultural metaphors. The palette for the work utilized my four sacred colors: scarlet red, naples yellow, turquoise blue and an earthy black. The work was suspended with industrial nails to offer a physical tension as well as to open the conversation up on many levels: chance and danger, Industry, pendulum of time, challenge the way we present paintings. The new media component (in development) for projection is available for view here.

Kisik Acimowina (translated as Sky Story in Cree)

The work had its world premiere at "The Wrong" New Digital Art Biennale initiated from São Paulo, Brasil and curated within the Anthony Antonellis pavilion, which opened on Nov. 1, 2013. Kisik Acimowina is an experimental collaborative multimedia piece created for exhibition purposes by New Media Artists Jason Baerg, Carrie Gates, and Music Composer, Michael Red. The work explores a time collapsing journey in our land, from the perspective of a single traveller inside an ever-evolving land and sky scape. Red’s music was inspired by the image of the calling of a rattle and an outdoor fire, while the digital drawings by Baerg are abstractions inspired by Cree cosmologies. Gates then used sound reactive animation and experimental motion graphics techniques to bring the abstractions to life alongside the music.


Chi-Okimah Anung (Anishinabe), or Kisci-Okima- Achak (Cree) Vega (English) Kisci-Okima- Achak controls all the other stars and assigns them their roles, so that there is nothing on Earth that does not have a ruling spirit or star in the heavens. Kisci-Okima-Achak controls the force of gravity and causes the water to be lifted off the lakes and rivers. He stores it up and later releases it to cause snowfalls. The Native Language Program, Grades 7-12, published by Native Education Branch of Manitoba, Canada.

Vega (α Lyr, α Lyrae, Alpha Lyrae) is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the fifth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere, after Arcturus. It is a relatively close star at only 25 light-years from Earth, and, together with Arcturus and Sirius, one of the most luminous stars in the Sun's neighborhood. Vega has been extensively studied by astronomers, leading it to be termed "arguably the next most important star in the sky after the Sun."[11]

The planet Venus is the Morning Star Wapan Achak (Cree), or Wabun Anung (Anishinabe), is translated into English as the Dawn, or Eastern Star. This is the planet Venus seen as the Morning Star. Wapan Achak or Wabun Anung is really a planet orbiting the Sun, so its position cannot be fixed on a star map. Astrologically, Venus is associated with the principles of harmony, beauty, balance, feelings and affections and the urge to sympathize and unite with others. It is involved with the desire for pleasure, comfort and ease. It governs romantic relations, marriage and business partnerships, sex (the origin of the words 'venery' and 'venereal'), the arts, fashion and social life. Venus is the planet of Friday. In languages deriving from Latin, such as Romanian, Spanish, French, and Italian, the word for Friday often resembles the word Venus (vineri, viernes, vendredi and "venerdì" respectively). In Chinese astrology, Venus is associated with the element metal, which is unyielding, strong and persistent. In Indian astrology, Venus is known as Shukra and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction.

Near Oraibi, Arizona, there is a petroglyph known as Prophecy Rock, which symbolizes many Hopi prophecies. Its interpretation is: The large human figure on the left is the Great Spirit. The bow in his left hand represents his instructions to the Hopi to lay down their weapons. The vertical line to the right of the Great Spirit is a time scale in thousands of years. The point at which the great Spirit touches the line is the time of his return. The "life path" established by the Great Spirit divides into the lower, narrow path of continuous Life in harmony with nature and the wide upper road of white man's scientific achievements. The bar between the paths, above the cross, is the coming of white men; the Cross is that of Christianity. The circle below the cross represents the continuous Path of Life. The four small human figures on the upper road represent, on one level, the past three worlds and the present; on another level, the figures indicate that some of the Hopi will travel the white man's path, having been seduced by its glamour. The two circles on the lower Path of Life are the "great shaking of the earth" (World Wars One and Two). The swastika in the sun and the Celtic cross represent the two helpers of Pahana, the True White Brother. The short line that returns to the straight Path of Life is the last chance for people to turn back to nature before the upper road disintegrates and dissipates. The small circle above the Path of Life, after the last chance, is the Great Purification, after which corn will grow in abundance again when the Great Spirit returns. And the Path of Life continues forever. The Hopi shield in the lower right corner symbolizes the Earth and the Four-Corners area where the Hopi have been reserved. The arms of the cross also represent the four directions in which they migrated according to the instructions of the Great Spirit. The dots represent the four colors of Hopi corn, and the four racial colors of humanity.