Fred Beaver (1911-1980) Ekalanee


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Fred Beaver (1911-1980) was a Creek-Seminole Native American painter.  His Muscogee name was Ekalanee, which means "Brown Head."  In 1931, he graduated from Eufaula High School where he was an All-State football and basketball player. He attended Bacone College, and in 1935 graduated from Haskell Business College. He worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Army Air Corps until 1960 when he retired to pursue a career of painting full time.  In 1963, he won the Phillips Outstanding Indian Artist Trophy. He was commissioned to paint several murals in businesses including the Thunderbird Restaurant and Motel in Oklahoma City and the Seminole Arts and Crafts Center in West Hollywood, Florida. His awards are too numerous to list here, but several of the most notable are Outstanding Indian of the Year (1979), Outstanding Oklahoman of the Year (1976), and the designation of Master Artist (1973).  Beaver passed away in 1980.

Dorothy Dunn's American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas praises Beaver's abilities: "His pictures are adroit, colorful, and decorative in a meaningful manner that commands interest beyond that usually aroused by illustrative art.  Beaver should write the stories and legends to accompany these excellent depictions of native scenes. With his comprehensive knowledge of the subject, he should be able to offer a well-rounded and fascinating view of Southeast Indian life." She describes him as "one of the principal Woodland artists."

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