Headshot of Charlene Teters

Charlene Teters is a Native American artist, educator, and lecturer. She is a citizen of the Spokane Nation. Teters served until her recent retirement as the Academic Dean of the college at the Institute of American Indian Arts. After establishing the Racial Justice Office at the National Congress of American Indians, Charlene Teters returned to her alma mater IAIA in 1992 as Director of Alumni Relations and Student Retention. In 2000, Teters was appointed as the Interim Dean of the Academic Division during IAIA’s transition and move from the College of Santa Fe campus to their new campus. In 2013, she was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in the Studio Arts Department.

Teters has also served as a Visiting Lecturer in the Art Department at the Ohio State University and received a two-year appointment as the Hugh O. LaBounty Endowed Chair at the California Polytechnic State University in Pomona, CA. Teters earned an AFA from IAIA, a BFA from the College of Santa Fe, and a MFA from the University of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In addition, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Mitchell College in New London, CT and Doctorate of Humanities from the Institute of American Indian Arts. 

Teters has exhibited internationally and maintains an active presence lecturing and delivering keynote speeches and commencement addresses across the United States. Her paintings and art installations have been featured in over 21 major exhibitions, commissions, and collections. 

Teters is a founding Board Member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media. Her activist-career first gained national prominence when she was a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she led protests against the degrading depictions of American Indian caricatures used as sport teams’ mascots. She picketed sports events and launched a national debate about the appropriateness of this practice by sports and media. 

Teters was the subject of the award-winning documentary In Whose Honor by Jay Rosenstein. In 2002, she received a New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.