GradImpact: Communicating Navajo History and Traditions through the Fine Arts

    After receiving her M.A. and MFA in art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dakota Mace wasn’t ready to leave school. Her work photographing Navajo textiles drove her interest to learn how to weave. Her new skill combined with a desire to better understand her own heritage and an interest in educating the world on the history of Navajo weaving, led Mace to pursue an MFA in design studies in the Human Ecology program.


    Mace’s recent exhibition, “We Weave What We See,” focused on the history of Navajo women weavers, and the “connection to weaving and landscape. It was all based on this idea of wanting to translate the understanding of the designs and the motifs used in Navajo weaving, but bringing it more into the fine art world,” Mace explained.


    Eventually, Mace wants to become a professor and leader in academia in the Native American community. Her mentor, UW-Madison professor Tom Jones, has inspired her desire to serve as a role model. “There aren’t a lot of Native American professors out there, so bringing the knowledge to the younger generation is what’s most important to me.” To read more about Mace’s work, visit the UW-Madison website. You can view her portfolio at



    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


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