Wo Peen's Painting of Sun-Buffalo Dancer - Woman (Postcard)
View Full Image
This postcard is of a mural, created by Native American Artist Wo Peen, that is on one of the walls of Springfield College's Pueblo of the Seven Fires. The mural depicts a ceremonial dancer or Sun-Buffalo Dancer and is highly symbolic. The woman has a beautiful sun symbol on her back with eagle tail feathers representing the sun's rays. The blue represents the sky, the red represents heat, the yellow symbolizes sunshine, and the orange symbolizes the glow of the sun's rays. In her hands and in her hair are sacred eagle plumes. The down of the eagle is used as snow on the hair. The dress is hand woven and symbols are shown in the embroidered border. Skunk skins are worn over buckskin leggins at the ankle to protect her spirit from the effect of evil spirits. It is one of a group of murals that he painted in the Pueblo of the Seven Fires for the college in 1932. The Pueblo of the Seven Fires is the name of the main building located on Springfield College’s East Campus, which consists of about 80 acres of forested land adjacent to Wilbraham Road that support the college’s recreation and camping programs as well as providing experiential learning opportunities for the community. The building, the only authentic southwestern pueblo structure east of the Mississippi, was dedicated in 1932 and originally provided meeting space, activity areas, storage, and living accommodations for the East Campus caretaker. The 4,4000 square-foot structure follows a classic southwestern design, with walls 24” thick at the base, tapering to 16” at the top. The floors are made of brick and the original roof was constructed of oak planks lying beneath a tarred layer overlaid with two or more inches of sand and soil to provide both insulation and fire protection from potential forest fires. The interior of the Pueblo features seven fire places, including a large fireplace donated by 4-H clubs. The seven fires refer to the seven fires of youth: self-expression, universality, ruggedness, regret/humility, truth, comradeship and beauty. The Pueblo also has a large central hall, or “Crane Lodge,” an east wing called “Reed Lodge,” the west wing called “Post Lodge,” and the Robinson room. A full kitchen is on the first floor, and offices and residential space is on the second floor. Of particular interest inside the building are the murals in the “Post Lodge” painted by Wo Peen around the year 1932. Wo peen, also known as Luis Gonzalez, was a famous Native American Artist known for his traditional murals and paintings. Edgar M. Robinson and Ernest Seton Thompson, both considered founders of the Boy Scouts, participated in the design of the building. In 1950, the Pueblo was officially designated the E.M. Robinson Pueblo of the Seven Fires, in honor of Edgar Monroe Robinson. Today the Pueblo is still used as it was originally designed, as a student learning facility hosting classes, camp groups and acting as a special function hall.
|Springfield College Archives and Special Collections|
Pueblo of the Seven Fires
The Pueblo of the Seven Fires
Native American artist
Text and images are owned, held, or licensed by Springfield College and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that ownership is properly cited. A credit line is required and should read: Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections. Any commercial use without written permission from Springfield College is strictly prohibited. Other individuals or entities other than, and in addition to, Springfield College may also own copyrights and other propriety rights. The publishing, exhibiting, or broadcasting party assumes all responsibility for clearing reproduction rights and for any infringement of United States copyright law. Contact host institution for more information.