I am interested in value systems. I combine materials in my work that are considered valuable in the non-Native world with materials that are considered precious to the Native community. By doing this my work presents aesthetic and environmental questions. What is more important? The knowledge and clean environment required to harvest, process and/or create using traditional Native knowledge or the human and environmental resources required for the materials in ‘fine jewelry’. My work speaks to the value systems that different cultures put upon materials and adornment.

I am interested in making work that transmutes the philosophical and ceremonial continuums that are the backbone of our identities as Native Americans. My work is a contemporary adornment that is solidly rooted in Kiowa aesthetics.


Born and raised on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, Ataumbi’s early years were filled with Shoshone, Arapaho and Kiowa aesthetics. She attended boarding school in Massachusetts and then Rhode Island School of Design before moving to Santa Fe in 1990. She then attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and eventually received a BFA in painting with a minor in art history from the College of Santa Fe. She currently divides her time between New Mexico and traveling the globe. When is not in her studio located in the Cerrillos Hills outside Santa Fe, she travels several times a year to Oklahoma and Wyoming to participate in the communities and the ceremonials she grew up in. Recently she has been traveling to ‘the ocean,’ helping to sail a 62’ cutter from the Atlantic to the Sea of Cortez.


2000-2003 College of Santa Fe
B.F.A., Magna Cum Laude, Painting and Art History

1994-1996 Institute Of American Indian Arts
A.F.A., Sculpture

1990-1991 Rhode Island School of Design

 Recent at the bench shot