Guide to the Frank R. LaPena papers, 1900-1999 MSS 2001/31

California State University, Sacramento Special Collections & University Archives
The Library
2000 State University Drive East
Sacramento, CA, 95819-6039

Title: Frank R. LaPena papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 2001/31
Contributing Institution: California State University, Sacramento Special Collections & University Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 44.92 Linear feet (33 record storage cartons)
Date (inclusive): 1900-1999
Abstract: The personal papers of Frank LaPena consist of material relating to one of three areas: his artwork, Native Americans, and his tenure as professor at California State University, Sacramento. The records associated with his art include correspondence, clippings, brochures, exhibit catalogs, and press releases from LaPena's art exhibitions at institutions and galleries such as the Heard Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum, Turtle Center for Living Arts, Japanese National Museum, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Also included are files regarding other artists and their exhibitions, especially Native American artists and exhibits involving themes relating to American Indians. LaPena's role as artistic advisor or committee member is reflected in such files as the California Indian Days Art Committee, California Commemorative Seals Advisory Committee, and California State Capitol Commission, where LaPena served for 10 years. The records associated with Native Americans contain reports, newsletters, correspondence and clippings pertaining to organizations such as the Maidu Heritage Foundation, Native California Network, Institute of American Indian Art, the Native American Indian Alliance and Native American Rights Fund. Materials relating to American Indian traditions and customs such as basket weaving and dancing are included in the collection as are files pertaining to contemporary American Indian issues in areas such as religion, economics, education and legal matters. LaPena's interest in the ecological and cultural preservation of the Mount Shasta region are contained in the files as well as information regarding D-Q University, a school devoted to the cultural survival and preservation of the Native American heritage. Also included are maps and arechaeological reports of tribal land and Northern California territories. A scrapbook of clippings covering the 1973 insurrection of American Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota is contained in the collection as well. LaPena's records relevant to his Art and Ethnic Studies programs at CSUS are comprised of lecture materials, seminar papers, and student evaluations and grades. Requests for LaPena to consult, teach or exhibit are included as is correspondence with colleagues and acquaintances. Magazines and journals that are contained in the collection have such titles as American Indian Art Magazine, Native Peoples, and Indian Artist. Newspapers are also found in the collection and include copies of the Tri-County Indian News, On Indian Land, and Wassaja, the national newspaper of American Indians.
Language of Materials note: Collection is in English and Maidu.
creator: LaPena, Frank R.

Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of correspondence, files, and artwork created and gathered by Frank La Pena during his lifetime.
Eight preliminary series have been identified: Biographical; CSUS; Letters; Reference Files; Exhibitions; Artistic, Scholarly and Cultural Activities; Oversize; and Artifacts.

Processing Information note

Pre-processed by Frank La Pena and SCUA staff in spring 2003. Survey and arrangement proposed by Sigrid Benson in 2012.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item including date], [Folder Title], MSS 2001/31, Frank R. LaPena papers, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento.

Biographical/Historical note

Frank LaPena was born on October 5, 1937 in San Francisco, California to parents of the Wintu-Nomtipom tribe of Native Americans. He was sent away to live at a federal American Indian boarding school when he was 5 years old and he stayed there until after he graduated from high school in 1956. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Chico State University in 1965 and did graduate work at San Francisco State University as well as California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), where he received his Master of Arts in Anthropology in 1978. He was hired as a professor as CSUS in 1971 to teach ethnic studies and art. HE also became director of the Native American Studies program at CSUS in 1974, a position he held for 26 years until his retirement in 2000.
LaPena's paintings, multimedia objects and jewelry have been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Canada - including the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, the Chicago Art Institute, the San Francisco Museum, the Linder Museum, Stuttgart, the American Arts Gallery, New York, the Smithsonian's George G. Heye Center, New York, and numerous galleries. His artwork has appeared on the covers of some major works of American Indian literature: "House Made of Dawn" - a book that won M. Scott Momaday a Pulitzer Prize - and "Ceremony" by Leslie Silko.
Frank LaPena is a poet and dancer as well as an artist. He has been a member of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists since 1973, a group which carries on the tradition, dances and ceremonies of Northern California Valley tribes.

Accruals note

No further additions are expected.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright is protected by the copyright law, Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. Requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce from collections must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Permission for publication is given on the behalf of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Library, California State University, Sacramento as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by Frank LaPena in multiple deposits between August 2001 and June 2012.

Conditions Governing Access note

This is an unprocessed collection and remains in its original arrangement. It is currently unavailable for use. For information, contact the Department Head.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

LaPena, Frank R.
LaPena, Frank R.
Native American arts
Native Americans