About the Artist

Martha Berry - CAM 2010

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 journalist.

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

Photo of Martha Berry, Cherokee Art Market 2010, courtesy of Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. Other photos by Dave Berry.


Awards and Prizes:

Martha Berry - Cherokee Beadwork Revival Project 2007
Martha Berry - Beadwork Class, Tahlequah 2004
  • Second Place, Beadwork and Quillwork, Cherokee Art Market 2013.
  • Designated a Cherokee National Living Treasure, August 27, 2013.
  • One of eight women designated Women Who Do Amazing Things by the Women in Tyler organization, Tyler, TX, March 21, 2013
  • First Place, Beadwork, 17th Annual Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, 2012
  • Best of Class - Beadwork/Quillwork,, Cherokee Art Market 2010, Tulsa, OK
  • Best of Division - Traditional Beadwork/Quillwork,, Cherokee Art Market 2010, Tulsa, OK
  • Second Place, Cultural Items, Cherokee Art Market 2008, Tulsa, OK
  • Second Place, Beadwork & Quillwork, Cherokee Art Market 2007, Tulsa, OK
  • Grand Prize, Cherokee Homecoming Art Show 2007, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK
  • First Place, Diverse Arts, First Annual Cherokee National Holiday Art Show, Tahlequah, OK, Sept. 1-3, 2006
  • People’s Choice Award, Art Under the Oaks Gallery Show 2006, Five Tribes Museum, Muskogee, OK
  • First Place, Beadwork Category, Commercial Division, Art Under the Oaks Gallery Show 2006, Five Tribes Museum, Muskogee, OK
  • First Place Traditional Beadwork, 10th Annual Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, October 2005
  • Honorable Mention, Heard Museum Guild 2005 Indian Fair and Market Juried Competition, Cultural Items category, Phoenix, AZ, March 4, 2005
  • Grand Award 9th Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, October 2004
  • Honorable Mentions (2), 8th Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, October 2003
  • Best of Category, 32nd Annual Trail of Tears Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, May 2003
  • Second Place, Art Under the Oaks 2003, Five Tribes Museum, Muskogee, OK
  • First Place, 7th Annual Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, October 2002
  • Best of Category, 31st Annual Trail of Tears Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, May 2002
  • First and Second Place, 6th Annual Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, October 2001
  • Special Merit Award, 30th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, May 2001
  • First and Third Place, 5th Annual Homecoming Art Show, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, OK, October 2000


Honors and Grants: Martha Berry - Cherokee Cultural Society, Houston 2004

  • Designated Cherokee National Living Treasure, Cherokee Nation, August 2013.
  • Designated one of eight Women Who Do Amazing Things, Women of Tyler organization, Tyler, TX, March 2013.
  • Recipient of the Native American Community Scholars Grant, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October, 2000
  • Listed in the Source Directory, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, United States Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
  • Featured Artist: Contemporary Native American Glass Art at the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA, November, 2003
  • Cherokee Nation Presenter, Tribes Moving Forward: Engaging in the Process of Constitutional and Governmental Reform Conference, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, April 1-3, 2001
  • Featured Artist: The Beaded Artistry of Martha Berry, a one-woman show, Cherokee Heritage Center Museum, Tahlequah, OK, June - September, 2000
  • Delegate, 1999 Cherokee Nation Constitution Convention, February 25 through March 7, 1999, Tahlequah, OK


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

  • 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.
  • Passages - Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, September 10, 2011 through January 15, 2012
  • 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 (Sorry, this wonderful exhibit closed on Sept. 13).
  • 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.
  • The Bead Trail - Trade Beads of the North American Frontier, The Bead Museum, Glendale, AZ, March, 2004 through May, 2005
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Beaded Artistry of Martha Berry - a one-woman show, Cherokee Heritage Center, June, 2000


Speaking and Teaching: Martha Berry - Class and Lecture, Philbrook Museum of Art, 2007

  • 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, with another one scheduled for 2014.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Martha Berry - Chattanooga Talk Radio, 2007
  • 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


Memberships and Affiliations: Martha Berry - Workshop, Muscogee (Creek) Nation 2004


Collectors: Martha Berry - Best of Show, Homecoming Art Show 2007

  • Rennard Strickland Collection, Fred Jones Jr. Museum, Univ. of Oklahoma
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Cherokee Actor Wes Studi
  • The Cherokee Phoenix
  • Cherokee Nation Entertainment
  • Cherokee National Historical Society, Cherokee Heritage Center Museum, Tahlequah, OK
  • 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, for making my tear dress, her dad's ribbon shirt and her own wedding gown and 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