Choctaw Steward

Curator Claire Green Young ’21 champions Native heritage.

As the new public arts manager for the Choctaw Nation, Green Young oversees all art displays at public facilities—from childcare centers to hotels—throughout the 11,000-square-mile reservation in southeastern Oklahoma, the third-largest tribal nation in the United States. In February she began an immense task: to catalog “all public art that the Choctaw Nation has acquired—since forever, essentially,” she says. The inventory includes paintings, textiles, and pottery, among thousands of other pieces.

Green Young is collaborating with Choctaw and other Native artists on art displays. “Choctaw Nation has a lot of large-scale casinos and resorts where we welcome visitors from different backgrounds,” she says. “We want to be cognizant of that in the art that we showcase in those spaces.”

Green Young, a religion and history major, earned a master’s in museum studies from University College Cork through a Choctaw-Ireland scholarship paid for by the Republic of Ireland. She then worked for a year as curator at the 100,000-square-foot Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant, Oklahoma, before taking on her new job.

“Claire was perfect for that curator position,” says Choctaw Nation communications director Shauna Williams, who hired Green Young for the new position in part because of her ability to build relationships. “We invest millions of dollars back into our community to ensure that we have the best of the best of Choctaw art on display in all our facilities. It’s been refreshing and exciting to see the work that she’s been doing.” 

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