Joan Hill’s Women’s Voices at the Council

Meet the Artists of Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

A painting of five figures and a small child talking to one another.

Joan Hill (Muskogee Creek and Cherokee), Women’s Voices at the Council, 1990, acrylic on canvas, Gift of the artist on behalf of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women, 1990, Oklahoma State Art Collection, courtesy of the Oklahoma Arts Council. © Joan Hill

Artist’s Language

Joan Hill, Nak Vhayv, Vietnam horre hayhoyofvn (1965–75), vhayetv vlicecvtes. Nak vhayat hokte, hoktuce, hoktvk mvnette tis essikv socet vhayetos. Hoktvke enyekcetv eteropoten herkv mon horre hayaketiyetos. Nak vhayv accvke herakat vhahices. Lucv sopvnkv ele svwvnayaken ahayes. Mvskokvlke/Cvlakkvlke sem vkerkv mon emmahakv tiyosen vhayetos. Cokv-yopv hvtken essiyat herkv vrakvtos. Motvkv poloksen cate essiyat horre vlakenomat vrakvtos.


Women’s Voices at the Council, part of a series that Joan Hill began in 1971 during the Vietnam War (1965–75), depicts multiple generations of Native women and the power they hold to decide between war and peace. Hill focuses attention on essential elements of women’s regalia including turtle shell leggings, and she presents Muskogee/Cherokee cultural aesthetics, symbols, and meanings. She juxtaposes the white background, a Cherokee symbol of peace, with a red disk, possibly symbolizing a threat of war.