About the Artist

Martha Berry Beadwork Artist

At the age of five, Martha Berry's mother and grandmother began teaching her to use a needle and thread. By age nine, she was making her own clothes, and at twenty, she was a seamstress for a touring ice show.

Born and raised in northeastern Oklahoma to Cherokee/English/Scotch-Irish parents, she took her Cherokee heritage largely for granted for many years. In her forties, with her children nearly grown, she began to discover the richness and importance of her ancestors' experience, and turned her skill with a needle to beadwork.

She now divides her time between research and creating beadwork that is inspired by the styles of the Southeastern Woodland Native American Indians. These native Nations include the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Yuchi, Alabama, etc. Her beadwork often illustrates the stories and lore of her Cherokee ancestors, allowing the observer to experience the power of their knowledge and the richness of their experience.

She is a registered tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, but currently resides outside the nation with her husband Dave, who is a retired journalist.

On Tuesday, August 27, 2013, Martha Berry was designated a Cherokee National Living Treasure.

In March 2018, she was honored to be a featured artist on Osiyo TV, Voices of the Cherokee People with a beautiful segment called Martha Berry, Leading A Beadwork Revival. To watch, please follow the link.

More recently, on Nov. 12, 2021, while social distancing at home during the second year of the pandemic, Martha teamed up with her daughter Karen Berry, a Cherokee finger-weaving artist, in an online lecture and workshop for the United Kingdom's Being Human Festival. The segment, called, Beading, Weaving and Reviving Lost Cherokee Arts, centered on beadwork and finger-weaving in the Native American collection of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Their presentation is not yet online, but when it becomes available, we'll post it here.

Also, on July 10, 2020, Martha was interviewed for Gilcrease Facebook Live by Danielle Culp of the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Please follow the link for the full interview.

Photo at left by Dave Berry, 2022. Photo below right from 2010 Cherokee Art Market courtesy of Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. All other photos are by Dave Berry.)


Awards and Prizes:

Martha Berry - CAM 2010


Special Awards, Grants, Memberships & Affiliations: Martha Berry - Cherokee Cultural Society, Houston 2004

  • Designated Cherokee National Living Treasure, by the Cherokee Nation, for traditional Cherokee beadwork, August 2013.
  • Awarded the Tradition Bearer Award, by the Cherokee National Historical Society, at the Seven Star Gala, Tulsa, September 26, 2015.
  • Designated one of eight Women Who Do Amazing Things, Women of Tyler organization, Tyler, TX, March 2013.
  • Registered Tribal Citizen, Cherokee Nation
  • Recipient of the Native American Community Scholars Grant, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October, 2000
  • Delegate, 1999 Cherokee Nation Constitution Convention, February 25 through March 7, 1999, Tahlequah, OK
  • Listed in the Source Directory, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, United States Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
  • Member, Cherokee Gadugi Community of North Texas)
  • Charter Member, First Families of the Cherokee Nation


Special Shows and Exhibits: Martha Berry - Cherokee Cultural Society, Houston 2004

  • Bandolier bag When the Highlands Met the Mounds is currently showcased as part of Chief's, Clans & Kin: Art of the Five Civilized Tribes on display from July 23 until Dec. 31, 2022, at the Choctaw Cultural Center, Durant, Oklahoma. The exhibit, which showcases the works of 35 Southeastern Native American artists with Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry, originally opened during May and June 2022 at the Living Arts Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Bandolier bag River of Art showcased as part of Oklahoma City's National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's "Spiro and the Art of the Mississipian World" exhibition from Feb. 12 to May 9, 2021. The exhibition moved to the Birmingham (Alabama) Museum of Art from Oct. 9, 2021 to Feb. 6, 2022, then traveled to the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, where it runs from March 13 through Aug. 7, 2022.
  • WINIKO: Life of an Object: Selections from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, a special exhibition of the First Americans Museum (FAM), in Oklahoma City, OK, returns objects from 39 tribes of Oklahoma for the first time in 100 years. Mrs. Berry is honored that her bandolier bag, Floral Journey With a Twist, was chosen for the exhibition. FAM celebrated its grand opening Sept. 18, 2021.
  • Earth Shakers: The Influence of Cherokee Women, Cherokee National Museum, Tahlequah, OK, May 10-Aug. 3, 2019.
  • Bandolier bag, Homeward Bound, featured in Anadisgoi, The Official Cherokee Nation News, Page 48.
  • Special showing of When the Highlands Met the Mounds, Museum of the Southeast American Indian,, University of North Carolina-Pembroke, February 2017 - February 2020.
  • Lines of Lineage: The Influence of Ancestry on Contemporary Native Artists, Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur, OK, February through April, 2019.
  • Sageeyah Gold bandolier bag photograph used on all promotional materials for Cherokee Art Market 2019.
  • Rekindled, Contemporary Southeastern Beadwork, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Clewiston, FL, December 12, 2016 � November 22,2017.
  • Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork, exhibit at Autry National Center of the American West, Los Angeles, CA, March 2014 - April 2015.
  • New Masters of Old Traditions, show at Zarrow Center, Tulsa, OK, June 7 - July 26, 2013.
  • Ancient Ways: Modern Forms, An Exploration of Related Experience in Native American and Jewish Cultures by Oklahoma Native Artists, Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, February 12 - April 2, 2013.
  • E.A.S.T. (East Austin Studio Tour) 2010, Pleasant Valley Ranch Gallery, Austin, TX, November 13-14 and 20-21, 2010
  • Cherokee Beadwork: Finding a Lost Art, curator and exhibitor for this show in the Bell Gallery, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX, May 1 - August 15, 2010.
  • Spirit Red, Visions of Native American Artists from the Rennard Strickland Collection, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Summer 2009.
  • Generations: Cherokee Language Through Art, Cherokee Heritage Center, Summer 2009, photo and beadwork collaboration piece with daughter Christina Berry.
  • Co-Curator: Beadwork Storytellers, a Visual Language, Cherokee National Museum, Tahlequah, OK, October 11, 2008 through April 19, 2009
  • Lost Arts, a Southeast Native American Art Show, Bill Shores Gallery, Chattanooga, TN, October 4 - December 28, 2007
  • Voices in the Tallgrass: Native Women Artists in Oklahoma, The Pioneer Woman Museum, Ponca City, OK, May 20 - September 16, 2007.
  • Cherokee People Today Fotografien von David G. Fitzgerald, Nordamerika Native Museum, Zurich, Switzerland, February 3 through August 31, 2005. The bandolier bag "Thorns" appears in an exhibit of Cherokee cultural objects, in conjunction with David Fitzgerald�s photographs.
  • Clearly Tradition: Glass in American Indian Art, The Glass Gallery, Bethesda, MD, Sept. 22 - Oct. 23, 2004. Celebrating the Grand Opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Featuring 3-dimensional glass forms and beadwork by Tony Jojola, Marvin Oliver, Susan Poiint, Preston Singletary, Robert Tanahill, Christopher Tarpley, Marcus Amermam, Martha Berry, Vanessa Jennings, and Donna Shakespear Cummings.
  • Passages - Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, September 10, 2011 through January 15, 2012
  • The Bead Trail - Trade Beads of the North American Frontier, The Bead Museum, Glendale, AZ, March, 2004 through May, 2005
  • Featured Artist: Contemporary Native American Glass Art at the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA, November, 2003
  • Indian Territory Arts and Humanities Council - Special Exhibition at Celle Castle, Celle, Germany, August 4 through September 28, 2002. This exhibition was part of a cultural exchange between Celle and her sister city, Tulsa, OK.
  • Featured Artist: The Beaded Artistry of Martha Berry, a one-woman show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, June - September, 2000


Speaking and Teaching: martha-berry-headshot-2022-uncropped

  • Online Lecture and Presentation, University of Maryland Institute of Art, March 25, 2022.
  • Artist Demonstration, DMA Late Night during "Spiro and the Art of the Mississipian World" exhibition at Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, March 25, 2022.
  • Teamed up with daughter Karen Berry, a Cherokee finger-weaving artist, for online lecture and workshop for the United Kingdom's Being Human Festival. The segment, Beading, Weaving and Reviving Lost Cherokee Arts, centered on beadwork and finger-weaving in the Native American collection of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Nov. 12, 2021
  • Artist Lecture, Opening of National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's "Spiro and the Art of the Mississipian World," Oklahoma City, OK, February 2021.
  • Online Lecture and Workshop for the United Kingdom's Being Human Festival, Nov. 12, 2021. This year's theme for the festival was "Renewal." Martha teamed up with her daughter Karen Berry for a segment called, Beading Weaving and Reviving Lost Cherokee Arts and discussed beadwork and finger-weaving in the Native American collection of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • Interview, Gilcrease Facebook Live, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, July 10, 2020.
  • Ongoing: Beginner and Advanced Traditional Cherokee Beadwork Workshops for the Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK. Since November 2001, I have conducted many workshops for the Cherokee Heritage Center.
  • Ongoing: Beginner and Advanced Traditional Cherokee Beadwork Workshops for the Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Since December 2010, I have conducted many workshops for the Oklahoma History Center.
  • Lecture, Cherokee Art Symposium, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK, November 10, 2018 (sponsored by First American Art Magazine).
  • Lecture, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK, September 2018.
  • Lecture and Workshop, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK, October 2017.
  • Lecture and Workshop, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Seminole Nation, Florida, February 2017.
  • Workshop, Chickasaw Nation, Sulphur, Oklahoma, May 2016.
  • Lecture, Cherokee Community of North Texas, July 27, 2014, Grapevine Public Library, Grapevine, Texas.
  • Autry National Center of the American West, panelist for beadwork symposium, April 5, 2014.
  • Cherokees of the Greater Bay Area, workshop, Stanford University, November 9, 2013.
  • Stanford University Native American Students Association, workshop, November 8, 2013,
  • California State University East Bay, lecture, November 7, 2013.
  • The Rise, Loss and Revival of Traditional Cherokee Beadwork, presentation, Jane Douglas Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Dallas, TX, May 2013.
  • Interview, Oklahoma Oral History Research Program, Oklahoma State University Library, November 17, 2012.
  • Traditional Southeastern Woodlands Beadwork Workshops for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, conducted at the Creek Council House Museum, Okmulgee, OK. I have conducted three workshops for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
  • Presentation of The Fourth Estate bandolier bag during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Cherokee Independent Press Act, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Museum, September 4, 2010, Tahlequah, OK
  • Traditional Cherokee Beadwork Beginners Workshop, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX, August 15, 2010
  • The Rise, Loss and Revival of Traditional Cherokee Beadwork, lecture at the Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX, July 29, 2010.
  • Museum talk for Native American Indian Cultural Association of Texas meeting, Tyler Museum of Art, July 17, 2010
  • Museum talk at the opening reception for Cherokee Beadwork: Finding a Lost Art exhibit at the Bell Gallery, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX, May 1, 2010.
  • Rise, Loss and Revival of Traditional Cherokee Beadwork lecture, Rogers County Cherokee Association meeting at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Claremore, OK, December 6, 2009
  • Advanced Beadwork Workshop, Cherokee Heritage Center, Park Hill, OK, December 4 & 5, 2009, Cherokee Heritage Center, Park Hill, OK, December 4 & 5, 2009
  • Martha Berry - Class and Lecture, Philbrook Museum of Art, 2007
  • Art as Identity: The Operative Principles of Affirmation, Accommodation and Appropriation in the Native American Artistic Pursuit of Self, a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition of Spirit Red, Visions of Native American Artists from the Rennard Strickland Collection, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Sept. 11, 2009. Moderated by Dr. Edwin Wade, art critic, with contemporary native artists Joseph Erb, Ruthe Blalock Jones, Shawna Morton Cain and Roger Cain, Bill Glass, Bill Rabbit, Lisa Rutherford and Mrs. Berry.
  • Rise, Loss and Revival of Traditional Cherokee Beadwork lecture, Chattanooga Audubon Society, Audubon Acres, Chattanooga, TN, October 4, 2007
  • The Rise, Loss and Revival of Cherokee and Southeastern Woodlands Beadwork - Museum lecture, workshop and Powerpoint presentation, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK, August 4 and 5, 2007
  • The Rise, Loss and Revival of Southeastern Woodlands Beadwork - Museum lecture and presentation, The Bead Museum, Glendale, AZ, March 3, 2005
  • Traditional Southeastern Woodlands Beadwork Workshop Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston, Houston, TX, July 31, 2004.
  • Opening Night Museum Talk, Bridging Traditions - Native American Glass Art, The National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA, November, 2003. (Other artists featured in this exhibit included Preston Singletary, Christopher Tarpley, Tony Jojola, Vanessa Jennings, Marcus Amerman.)


Press and Publications: Martha Berry - RCCA Lecture 2009. Photo courtesy of Will Chavez, Cherokee Phoenix.

  • American Craft Magazine: The Art of the Flourish, Photos and Story, Summer 2021, pp. 66-69.
  • Gilcrease Museum Magazine, Collecting With Gilcrease In Mind, Photos and Story, Winter 2020, pp. 12-13.
  • Sageeyah Gold bandolier bag photograph used on all promotional materials for Cherokee Art Market 2019.
  • First American Art Magazine, Winter 2018/2019, pp. 13-15.
  • Native American Art Magazine, Dec/Jan 2019, pp. 134-135
  • Featured artist on Osiyo TV, Voices of the Cherokee People. The segment was called Martha Berry, Leading A Beadwork Revival. Please follow the link to watch the full video.
  • Cover art for The Great Vanishing Act: Blood Quantum and the Future of Native Nations Ratteree and Hill, Fulcrum Publishing, 2017.
  • Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words, OU Press, 2017.
  • Chickasaw Nation Press Release: Art of Dallas Area Mother and Daughter Featured at Artesian Arts Festival, Sulphur, Oklahoma, May 12, 2017.
  • Beadwork as Storytelling, article in Oklahoma Newspapers in Education, November, 2016.
  • Rekindled, article in Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Quarterly, Fall, 2016.
  • Interview, local Tulsa NBC affiliate, during Cherokee Art Market, 2016.
  • Photo and Bio, Cowboys and Indians magazine, August/September 2016, p. 126.
  • Photo and mention, "A Fruitful Exchange," Paige Bardolph, Antiques magazine, July/August 2014, p. 103.
  • Cherokee National Treasure Martha Berry to Teach Beadwork Class in OKC, Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, February 18, 2015.
  • Photo, "The Hidden Language of Flowers in Native North American Beadwork," Lois S. Dubin and Paige Bardolph, American Indian Art Magazine, Autumn 2014, p. 78.
  • Photo, Western Art Collector magazine, October 2014, p. 125.
  • Exhibit Review of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection, First American Art magazine, Winter 2015, p. 77.
  • Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork, book by Lois S. Dubin, published by Autry National Center for the American West, Los Angeles, pp.70, 72, 231,234,235.
  • Native Treasure, article by Britt Greenwood, Tulsa People magazine, April 2014, p. 20.
  • Native North American Beadwork Exhibit set for March 15, article in Cherokee Phoenix, February 2014, p. 18.
  • Martha Berry - Beadwork Class, Tahlequah 2004
  • Beautiful Beadwork, article in IN magazine, January/February 2014, pp. 40-43.
  • 3 Named Cherokee National Treasures, article in Cherokee Phoenix, October 2013, p. 16.
  • Stitches in Time: The Rebirth of Southeastern Woodland Beadwork, article in First American Art magazine, Fall 2013, p. 46-51.
  • Cherokee Artist Honored by Women of Tyler Organization, article in Cherokee Phoenix, June 2013, p. 17.
  • First American Art magazine article and photos, Fall 2013, p. 46.
  • Cherokee Phoenix newspaper article and photo, June, 2013, p.17.
  • �Ancient Ways: Modern Forms� Exhibit Opens, Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, February 12, 2013.
  • Native American Connections Podcast interview: http://m.soundcloud.com/native_connections_2/native-connections-4-16-13
  • Tahlequah Art Guide 2012, photo on front cover of Butterfly bandolier bag.
  • Oklahoma Newspapers in Education, The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, May 2012, p.11, story and photo.
  • The Dr. J.W. Wiggins Native American Art Collection, Vol. II: Three Dimensional Works; Dr. J.W. Wiggins; published by Sequoyah National Research Center, University of Arkansas; p. 26.
  • BUILDING ONE FIRE: Art+World View in Cherokee Life, Chadwick Corntassel Smith, Rennard Strickland, with Benny Smith; published by the Cherokee Nation, distributed by University of Oklahoma Press, 2010, pp. 17, 48, 120 - 121, 132 (sash detail), 186 - 187.
  • Spirit of Revival, article in Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tyler, TX, Sunday, May 2, 2010, p. 1B.
  • "Co-op Thrives in Tough Times: Cherokee Artists Association" - article in Native Peoples magazine, January/February 2010, p. 74.
  • "Berry Leads Revival of Southeastern-style beadwork" - article and photos in Native American Times, December 25, 2009, Art & Culture section, p. 7.
  • "Cherokee Beadwork Artist to Speak at RCCA Meeting" - article and photo in Claremore Progress, Claremore, OK; December 3, 2009, p. 11.
  • "Beadtime Stories" - article with photos,Oklahoma Today magazine, Jan/Feb 2009, p. 78-79.
  • Television Interview - KJRH Channel 2, NBC affiliate, Tulsa, OK, October 12, 2007.
  • Martha Berry - Chattanooga Talk Radio, 2007
  • Television interview - Chattanooga News Channel 9, ABC affiliate, October 5, 2007.
  • Radio interview - Chattanooga Talk Radio 102.3 FM, October 4, 2007.
  • Cherokee Beadwork Undergoes Revival - article in Cherokee Phoenix, online August 14, 2007; print p. B-6, September 2007.
  • "Everyone Is Important" - The Cherokee Beadwork Revival Project, 2007 - article in Native American Times, online August 14, 2007; print p. 1, August 17, 2007.
  • National Museum of the American Indian magazine, Fall 2007, p. 27, photograph of "Fortune�s Fandango" bandolier bag.
  • National Radio Interview: Rezervations, Native Voice One (NVI), hosted by Dawn Karima Pettigrew, July 30, 2007.
  • American Indian Art magazine, Summer 2007, p. 110, photograph of "Fortune�s Fandango" bandolier bag.
  • Native Peoples magazine, May-June 2007, p. 25; July-August 2007, p. 53; photograph of "Fortune�s Fandango" bandolier bag.
  • ART OF THE CHEROKEE: Prehistory to the Present, Susan C. Power, University of Georgia Press, 2007, Title page (photograph), p. 179, p. 209-211.
  • "On The Wind - Honoring," announcement of People's Choice Award, Five Civilized Tribes Museum, Native Peoples magazine, Sept/Oct 2006, p. 18.
  • Cover art, photo of "Ani Yunwiya" bandolier bag, The University of Georgia Press, Books for Fall & Winter 2006 catalog.
  • "Bandolier Bag Wins People�s Choice Award", photo and article, Cherokee Phoenix and Indian Advocate, July 2006, p. 24.
  • "Cherokee Bandolier Bag Wins People�s Choice", photo and article, Muskogee Phoenix, May 25, 2006.
  • "An Interview With Martha Berry, Homecoming Artist," The Columns (Cherokee National Historical Society newsletter), Summer 2005, p. 7.
  • "On The Wind - Honoring," photo and paragraph announcing the Grand Award, 9th Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show, Native Peoples magazine, Jan/Feb 2005, p. 18.
  • "Cherokee Homecoming Art Show Winners Announced," photo and mention, Cherokee Phoenix and Indian Advocate, November 2004, p. 13.
  • "Tylerite Berry's Beadwork Not Just Sew-Sew," article by Jonathan Perry, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tyler, TX, Friday, October 15, 2004.
  • "Art Values," SouthwestArt magazine, August 2004, pages 48-49.
  • "Finding a Lost Art," article by Martha Berry, Bead & Button magazine, December 2003, pages 137-140.
  • "Our Fires Still Burn," feature article by Sarah Heiskell, Tyler Courier-Times--Telegraph, Tyler, TX, Sunday, December 7, 2003.
  • THIS SIDE UP!, International glass art magazine. A photograph of my bandolier bag, Our Fires Still Burn, was featured in an article entitled The Technique of Beadwork, Issue No. 22, Summer 2003, p. 12.
  • Artist of the Month, January, 2001, AllThingsCherokee.com


Collectors: Martha Berry - Main Staircase, Cherokee Nation Outpatient Clinic 2019

  • Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
  • Three pieces of art - a bandolier bag, sash and small purse - displayed on all three floors of the main staircase risers, Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center, Tahlequah, OK, dedicated in November 2019. (See photo at right.)
  • Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
  • National Cowboy and Western Heritage Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Rennard Strickland Collection, Fred Jones Jr. Museum, Univ. of Oklahoma
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
  • The Cherokee Phoenix
  • Cherokee Nation Entertainment
  • Cherokee National Historical Society, Cherokee Heritage Center Museum, Tahlequah, OK
  • Former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith, Tahlequah, OK
  • Children�s Museum of Indianapolis
  • Educational institutions in the United States
  • Private collectors throughout the United States and Europe


Special thanks...

  • To my daughter, Christina, for creating this Web site, for her support and inspiration while creating her own amazing website All Things Cherokee, and for becoming a beader.
  • To my daughter, Karen, an outstanding Cherokee gourd carver and finger weaver, for making my tear dress, her dad's ribbon shirt, her own wedding gown, and for letting me bead her cuffs and train.
  • To my husband, Dave, for taking the beautiful photographs you see on this website, maintaining the site, and for making me believe that I could do this thing.
Wado, Martha Berry