Ina Mc Neil, a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux, is a skilled traditional artist whose works have received recognition across the country. For over fifty years she has created masterworks of bead and quillwork, Native American dolls, and prized quilts. Her works have appeared in many museum exhibits and demonstration events. She is a frequent consultant and lecturer at local universities and schools, and has received several leadership awards from the local Native American community.
Born in Little Eagle, South Dakota on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Ina was raised by her grandmother, Cecilia One Bull, granddaughter of Chief Sitting Bull. In addition to teaching her granddaughter the art of beadwork and quillwork, One Bull also taught her the traditional language, and history of Lakota customs.
Ina, whose Lakota name is Wamni-Omni-Luta-Wi or Scarlet Whirlwind Woman, is an accomplished dollmaker who won first place and best in show at the 1986 International Gallup Ceremonial in New Mexico. As a maker of Native American quilts, she has been widely exhibited in galleries and shows in New York City, the Catskills, Long Island, New Mexico and North Carolina.
When she is not creating art, Ms. Mc Neil is both a lecturer and art demonstrator at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in both New York and Washington, DC, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and the Museum of Montclair, New Jersey. She was recognized by the New York City based Thunderbird American Indian Group as "Indian of the Year" in 1986 and by Amerinda in 2000 as "Most Respected Elder." In March 2001 she was recognized by Long Island Traditions , Inc for contributions in preserving significant cultural arts on Long Island, New York.
Ina is the proud mother of five children and a grandmother to seven. She resides in Hempstead, New York and makes frequent trips to her Reservation. She continues to create works that proudly and honorably sustain the traditional and spiritual legacy of her nation.
It all goes back to White Buffalo Calf Woman. She was the female prophet of God who brought the ideas of equality to our Lakota people and liberated not only females, but males from archaic ideas. In the Lakota tradition women are held in high esteem because we are life givers. Native women and women all over the world are the ones who are very protective, nurturing and are the first educators of the children. Lady Liberty symbolizes the spirit of this land and the spirit of women around the world. And so it is fitting that Lady Liberty is portrayed as the Lakota Feminine Divinity.