Karen Ann Hoffman | wisconsinacademy.org
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Karen Ann Hoffman


  • Fellow
  • 2024
  • Gallery
Arts, Anthropology, Indigenous Arts, Social Justice

Karen Ann Hoffman is a Haudenosaunee raised beader from Stevens Point. A citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, she creates objects of great beauty and cultural significance that reflect Haudenosaunee understandings and honor generational legacies.

Hoffman began her artistic journey in the 1990s, learning from artists Samuel Thomas and his mother Lorna Hill, members of the Lower Cayuga Band of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. Over her 25 years of practicing Haudenosaunee beadwork, Hoffman’s focus has evolved to primarily make objects that arise from traditional forms, that incorporate traditional stories and imagery, that are infused with Haudenosaunee understandings of the world, but that are otherwise entirely new. For example, she is the first beader to develop the beaded urn form; Her “Wampum Urn” is now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of the American Indian.Also unique to her beading is her deep infusion of narrative elements through which she shares her deep cultural knowledge. She advocates for Indigenous arts and statewide arts programming through her Wisconsin Arts Board membership.

Over the past ten years, she has expanded her practice to include teaching Haudenosaunee beadwork through the Arts Board’s Folk Arts Apprenticeship program and individual classes and most recently has begun curating exhibitions of Native art to provide a platform for her fellow artists. Through her work, Karen is extending this art form in highly creative ways, reimagining existing forms to expand their meaning and significance while also building community and supporting other artists. 

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