Toree Jones (Ho-Chunk) works for the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Department of Education in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Jones received a B.A. in Studio Arts and a M.Ed. (art education) from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Jones’ has taught the arts within the public school systems in both Minnesota and Florida. Since moving back to Wisconsin she has been working collaboratively with the Ho-Chunk Language Division to create a tribal school system. A mission of the school will be to help preserve the language and to reenergize the creation of the traditional arts.
During this journey Jones has begun to research the traditional arts that her tribal members create both past and present. She now is working with those designs and incorporating them into art projects, shedding light on the positive aspects of our interconnected worlds. Jones has become frighteningly aware of the instability of the American government, the splintering of our society, as well as our impact on the environment. Through the use of her art she felt it was time to add a voice of optimism to a much broader audience.
“When I was approached to create a design for this company I got a chance to stop and think about all the negativity that’s going on in our world right now. I could feel myself going into a really dark place and feeling so angry every time I saw a newspaper or a newscast. When Lori asked me to be one of the first contributing artists I jumped at the chance. This project has created an avenue which steers my mind to a positive direction, which I hope can help bring about positive change. I’ve done a lot of introspection and think I’ve come up with an idea that will voice the wonderful things that comes from the diversity in our world.”