Linda Kukuk

Linda KukukLinda Kukuk is a life-time resident of the Oklahoma City area, and an award-winning self-taught artist. Although she does some traditional watercolor, she is mainly known as a scratchboard artist specializing in realistic pictures of wildlife, pet portraits, Native Americans, and portraits. A Signature Level member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA), rather than always doing scratchboard art in the “traditional” sense, she enjoys experimenting by starting with white clayboard, adding either watercolor, acrylic ink, India ink (or a combination of these) and then doing scratchwork on the surface she has prepared. Her extensive travels throughout Africa, Europe, Russia, and the South Pacific has given her a myriad of interesting subjects to paint and draw. She loves painting almost any subject and, being a Choctaw Indian, definitely enjoys painting Native American & American wildlife subjects. She also enjoys using white clay-coated board (textured & smooth) for watercolor. The Choctaw Nation recently purchased over 20 of her works to decorate their clinics in Durant and Talihina and commissioned two more for their new Headquarters building. Linda recently finished using watercolor to illustrate a children’s picture book, for Disney, on the life of Chief Wilma Mankiller. She says that even though she embarks on various creative side roads in her artistic travels, she never strays very far from scratchboard art. It never ceases to challenge! 

About Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller, illustrated by Linda Kukuk

As a child in Oklahoma, Wilma Mankiller experienced the Cherokee practice of Gadugi, helping each other, even when times were hard for everyone. But in 1956, the federal government uprooted her family and moved them to California, wrenching them from their home, friends, and traditions. Separated from everything she knew, Wilma felt utterly lost until she found refuge in the Indian Center in San Francisco. There, she worked to develop the local Native community and championed Native political activists. She took her two children to visit tribal communities in the state, and as she introduced them to the traditions of their heritage, she felt a longing for home.

Returning to Oklahoma with her daughters, Wilma took part in Cherokee government. Despite many obstacles, from resistance to female leadership to a life-threatening accident, Wilma’s courageous dedication to serving her people led to her election as the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. As leader and advocate, she reinvigorated her constituency by empowering them to identify and solve community problems.

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