Nadiya Littlewarrior

Available for Teaching, Public Speaking
& Private Gourd Art Sales Events

Live Radio Interviews

Click here for podcast of "Around the Barn" Radio Show, August 4, 2012
In studio guest E.J. Stephens, Host Nancy, Guest Nadiya Littlewarrior, Co-Host Julie, Guest Bill West, Producer Mike Dowler.  OutWest's Featured August 2012 Artist, Nadiya Littlewarrior,  shared her love of working with gourds to create her special Spirit Vessels. Film historians, and SCVTV co-hosts, E.J. Stephens and Bill West, filled us in on what local film tours are available and what's planned for the upcoming 2012  "Silents Under the Stars" fundraiser at the William S. Hart Museum and Park.

January 27, 2012 Tune in to podcast of "Around the Barn" on KHTS 1220 AM radio for a live interview with Nadiya Littlewarrior and Western fashion expert
Christin Miller of Maverick

Past Radio Interview
September 18, 2010 Nadiya Littlewarrior was our guest on "Around the Barn" Click this podcast link and listen!

Left - to - Right, Around the Barn Co-Host Bobbi Jean with Nadiya Littlewarrior and Host Nancy Pitchford-Zhe


Nadiya Littlewarrior was born in Kansas City, Mo. and moved to Texas with her mother, Lucille Ellis, at the age of three. Lu is an award-winning artist and afforded Nadiya the benefit of a very creative atmosphere complete with all the art supplies to fill a child’s heart.  Nadiya says that her talent comes from, “The Creator and Mom.”


Growing up on a cattle ranch in the South West Texas Panhandle didn’t hurt. Says Littlewarrior, “I could stand in the middle of the yard, turn a complete circle and see nothing but horizon in all four directions!  This made a very large space for listening and talking to Creator and Mother Earth.”  At 15, when Nadiya moved to San Angelo, Texas to live with her maternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. John O. Whipple, a Potawatomi woman and a Cherokee man…these grandparents instilled in her the importance of a thoughtful, discerning life.  Her paternal Grandfather, Bird Buzan, was a full blood Native man born on a reservation in Kansas, was believed to be Sauk/Fox.


Nadiya studied art academically in Texas, Oklahoma, and California as well as private studies with various artists.  Four times her people of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation have honored this award-winning artist, known for her gourds around the world.  She has been invited and accepted to exhibit her art at the following prestigious locations: Southwest Museum, Antelope Valley Indian Museum, Satwiwa Native American Culture Center & Museum, Mallard Sheets Gallery, William S. Hart Park & Museum, The City of Lancaster Fine Arts Museum and the Tongva Nation’s new Haramokngna Culture Center.  Both the Southwest Museum and the Autry National Center Museum of the American West have sold Nadiya’s art in the Museum Stores.


Her husband, John Davis inspired the name of her company, SPIRIT VESSELS STUDIO, reminding her that the best way to come up with a name would be to dream on it, as her ancestors do. Nadiya says, “They are Spirit Vessels to me because The Creator makes the Gourd People and puts their spirit in them and I get to dress them with regalia.”  Spirit Vessels was dreamed into being in 1993. With a history in art and a distinctively Potawatomi Cherokee heritage, Nadiya Littlewarrior is one of today’s most dedicated artist’s of contemporary Native American Art.  Her collectors span the world from China to Spain and include such people as Dr. Joyce Brothers and actress Jennifer Tilly.


Artist's Grants:
LA Treasures Program
Awarded by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and The Los Angeles Folk Art Museum     2004

Grant awarded to teach and show

Artist Awards:
1st    Place 1997 Citizen Potawatomi Regional Art Competition
2nd    Place 1997 Citizen Potawatomi National Art Competition
3rd    Place 1998 Citizen Potawatomi Regional Art Compaction
1st    Place 2002 Citizen Potawatomi Regional Art Competition
3rd    Place 2004 Citizen Potawatomi Regional Art Competition
2nd    Place 2005 Citizen Potawatomi Regional Art Competition

Shows and Placements:
Native Voices 2005
Various Native American Artists
Friends Gallery
Pasadena, CA
June 27 through August 18

Toy Purina Gallery  (Co Curator)
Haramokngna Native American Indian Culture
Contemporary Native Art/Various Artists
Four Pieces Placed
March thru May 2005

Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural
One Person Show  June 2004

Satwiwa Native American Culture Center & Museum
Guest Host Artist    1993 to Present
Bi-annual Guest Host Art Show & Sale    1997 to present
Quarterly private show    March April May 2002
National Park Service owns and rotates seven original art pieces with video interview

Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Annual Intertribal Marketplace - 1995 to present

Museum of Man, San Diego, CA
Annual Indian Fair -  June 2005

Antelope Valley Indian Museum, Lancaster, CA
Annual Opening Celebration     1996 to present

Lancaster Fines Arts Museum, Lancaster, CA
Art in Nature - Multi Artist Gourd Art Show     Spring 1999

William S. Hart Park & Museum, Newhall, CA
Annual Pow Wow & Art Show  - 1993 to present

Friends Gallery, Pasadena CA
Native American Voices: A Contemporary American Indian Art Exhibition
December 1st thru January 5th - 2003/2004

Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center
Guest Host Artist - 1999 to present

Currently Boards Memberships:
Friends of Satwiwa
Satwiwa Native American Culture Center & Museum
Newbury Park, CA

San Joaquin River Intertribal Heritage Educational Corporation,
Board Member at Large
Auberry, CA

William S. Hart Park & Museum, Pow Wow Committee
Children's Area Supervisor
Newhall, CA

Other Memberships:
NESHKINUKAT, the California Native Artist’s Network

Classes Taught:
Satwiwa Native America Culture & Museum
-3 beginners gourd art Classes
-2 mini gourd necklace Classes
-1 mini gourd ornament Classes

Southwest Museum
-2 beginners Gourd Art Classes

Haramokngna Native American Culture & Museum
-4 beginners Gourd Art Classes

Public Speaking egagements:
BCM Ministries, presentation regarding honor gift of gourd art
to musician, Eugene Freisen

Daughters of the Indian Wars,  Luncheon speaker for quarterly meeting
January, 2004

NASA Edwards
November 2004
Guest Speaker for Native American Indian Month

ARTIST STATEMENT  By Nadiya Littlewarrior

As a child I was fortunate that several members of my family were artists.  They afforded me an environment which included the space to imagine and create on many levels.  For all of them, I am grateful.


As an adult I was always involved in the creative process at my chosen profession and for that I am also grateful.


Thirteen years ago, my friend, Nancy Pendleton Brown invited me to a gourd art workshop taught by Margaret Johnson.  Knowing me as an artist and understanding how important my Native American ways are to me, Nancy felt that I would enjoy learning this new craft.  For that, I am truly grateful to Nancy and Margaret.


At once while working with the Gourd People that day I was brought to a spark of life that I never before experienced.  For the first time in my life I felt comfortable in my own skin. As a mixed blood Native I was never as dark as the others and often was questioned as to just how much “Indian” I am.  Finally, all of that tension melted away and I knew exactly what I should be doing with my art from that point forward.


The Gourd People offer me many lessons and blessings.  The fine art of gourd as my canvas has brought me to a place where true Spirituality is a major part of my life.  The offerings that you see here have all been part of my life, part of my heart and part of my soul.  I hope that you will enjoy visiting them as much as I enjoyed working with them.  Give a listen; they do speak to people on occasion.  

You see, the people were asking me, “Do you make the gourds?”  I realized that the true answer was, “Creator makes the Gourd People and I get to dress them up!”  Hence,  Spirit Vessels Studio came into being.  Creator puts the Spirit in all things and all things are sacred, therefore, the Gourd People are indeed Spirit Vessels.  I have been told by people who collect my work that there is a good feeling they get by having them around, and for that I am once again, truly grateful.  My work is intended to be uplifting, educational and inspiring.  Thank you for being.

Shipping Details

Shop Nadiya Littlewarrior:

Follow Us on Facebook OutWest Boutique & Cultural Center
877.340.WEST or 877.340.9378
Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Site Map