Edna Massey (1913-1977)

Born in Oklahoma, Edna Hogner Massey (Cherokee) devoted her life to bringing Native American art to a wider audience.


Ms. Massey’s thirty-two year civil service career included positions in the Indian Arts and Crafts Board and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) where she served as the Arts and Crafts Specialist. Ms. Massey was responsible for the acquisition of much of the BIA’s art collection.


Throughout her career, Ms. Massey was deeply involved in creating her own art as well as in providing opportunities for the recognition of her fellow Native American artists.


In the mid-1960s, Ms. Massey worked with Mrs. Stewart Udall, the wife of the Secretary of the Interior, to create an art gallery in the U.S. Department of the Interior building, a gallery run by the Center for Arts of Indian America. Ms. Massey helped establish a biennial competitive exhibition of Native American arts and other special exhibits.

Throughout her government career, Ms. Massey continued to create her own art. She drew inspiration both from her own Cherokee heritage and from the work of other artists with whom she came into contact. Ms. Massey was especially interested in experimenting with modern applications of traditional Native American motifs, and did much of her work in screen prints and textiles.

In 1970, when the North American Indian Women’s Association was established, Ms. Massey designed its logo, which is still used today.


Credits: Story

Native American Artists of the Southeast was developed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program, September 2016.

Shannon Stiles, Staff Curator
Annie Pardo, Museum Program Manager
(with assistance from the summer intern)

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“Edna Hogner Massey.” Find a Grave. Accessed September 29, 2016. www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=70397366

“In Memorium: Mrs. Edna (Kitty) Massey, (Cherokee).” Unknown source. Copy on file in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program, Reston, Virginia.

Jojola, Lloyd. “Native American Worked His Way Up Ranks at BIA After 5 decades at agency, he helped found American Indian National Bank.” Albuquerque Journal, May 21, 2010. Accessed August 18, 2016. www.abqjournal.com/obits/profiles/212212585176obitsprofiles05-21-10.htm

“North American Indian Women’s Association Facebook Page.” Facebook. Accessed September 29, 2016. www.facebook.com/North-American-Indian-Womens-Association-836828159736874/

Verble, Sedelta, editor. “Ohoyo Makachi: Words of Today’s American Indian Women. A First Collection of Oratory by American Indian/Alaskan Native Women.” OHOYO Resource Center, Wichita Falls, TX. Accessed September 29, 2016. files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED227998. Page 55.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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