University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds

The artworks of HOCK E AYE VI EDGAR HEAP OF BIRDS include multi-disciplinary forms of public art messages, large scale drawings, Neuf Series acrylic paintings, prints and monumental porcelain enamel on steel outdoor sculpture.

Heap of Birds received his Master of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1979), his Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (1976) and has undertaken graduate studies at The Royal College of Art, London, England.

His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and he has served as a visiting lecturer and professor at several institutions. He currently teaches Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma where he has been since 1988.

He has received  numerous grants and awards and in June 2005, Heap of Birds completed the fifty-foot signature, outdoor sculpture titled Wheel. The circular porcelain enamel on steel work was commissioned by The Denver Art Museum and is inspired by the traditional Medicine Wheel of the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.

Heap of Birds’ artwork was chosen by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian as their entry towards the competition for the United States Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. He represented the Smithsonian with a major collateral public art project and blown glass works in Venice, June 2007 titled: “Most Serene Republics."

For the most updated photos of his work visit Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds web site.

building Minnesota

Building Minnesota, Walker Art Center 1990

Artist Statement

The oppression and slaughter of human beings by white American society does not only come from hatred; greed and potential impediment to economic growth also feed the frenzy to kill and destroy people of color and spirits that grow from the soil or move the surface that is our earth. It is therefore proper we inform the Minnesota public to honor those forty Dakota tribal citizens who were executed by hanging in Minnesota in 1862 and 1865 by order of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson with the support of the citizens of Minnesota.

As a sign of respect, forty Dakota-English, red lettered metal signs were exhibited originally in 1990 in the earth in the business zone of what was called the Grain Belt.

This is a proud historical districts of the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota that houses the grain and flour mills, canals, and facilities to ship out fruits to “American progress..”

It was the potential disruption of American commerce that cost Dakota people their lives. The Native tribes of the Upper Midwest were not allowed the sovereignty and dignity to provide for their own economic livelihood through hunting and gathering. The Native land base of this region, as in all America, was not given the right to exist intact in a prominent way and was automatically superseded by white invading immigrants and their hunger to cultivate and consume more of this earth.

As the forty signs are now offered in the Nash Gallery symbolically along the water called the Mississippi, which remains a highway for American business, we seek not only to extract profit from our surroundings. We also wish to honor life-giving force of the waters that have truly preserved all of us from the beginning, and to offer respect to the tortured spirits of 1862 and 1865 that may have sought refuge and renewal through the original purity that is water.

Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds 1998

Artist's Works: Absence/Presence

Building Minnesota

Building Minnesota

One of the signs honoring the forty Dakota executed in Minnesota.


Page updated 2013.