MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A beloved and accomplished Ojibwe artist from Minnesota, Jim Denomie, has died at 66 years old.

Denomie’s wife, Dakota author Diane Wilson, said he “began his spirit journey” early Tuesday morning. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.

“Jim was a man of immense talent and vision, integrity, with a fierce commitment to truth-telling in his work. Yet he remained a good friend to all who knew him, always taking time to create lasting friendships wherever he went,” Wilson said in a social media post.


Since the news of his death, there has been an outpouring of support from many in the community impacted by Denomie and his work.

“Jim will always be one of the most deeply and widely respected and beloved artists in this region, for he possessed a singular, brave artistic voice, a passion for his community, and an unmistakable wit,” the Minnesota Museum of American Art wrote. “As was his way, Jim approached life with thoughtfulness and care in ways that meaningfully contributed to the honoring of Indigenous pasts and the flourishing of Indigenous futures.”


In 2019, Denomie became the first Native American artist to be chosen by the McKnight Foundation for the Distinguished Artist Award, with the foundation citing his “international reputation for monumental narrative paintings that explore the collisions between Indigenous cultures and European colonizers.”

Denomie was a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe and lived with his wife at their home in Shafer, Minnesota.

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