Brown Arts Institute

Cohen Gallery

Cohen Gallery is located in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at 154 Angell Street. 

On View 

The Beads That Bought Manhattan: 
      The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
Hartman Deetz (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Michelle Cook (Dine') 


Beads of Manhattan

Artist Hartman Deetz (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Indigenous human rights lawyer Michelle Cook (Dine') debut their project on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Deetz has produced a traditionally handcrafted wampum belt that documents UNDRIP, presented alongside a short film on the history of wampum by Michelle Cook and Teena Pugliese. Informative wall panels were designed by Olivia Cook (Dine'). 

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Wampum Belt features the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The belt contains purple wampum, organe conch shell, abalone, and a blue stone bead. The 45 purple beads, and one blue stone bead, represent the 46 articles of the UN Declaration. The UN Declaration Belt is a modern Nation to Nation agreement in part drafted by Indigenous peoples that underscores the rights of self-determination, free and prior informed consent, equal protection of human rights, and control of Indigenous peoples’ economic rights.

Presented by the Brown Arts Institute in collaboration with the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative.

For more information about the project and its participants, please visit:, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

On view through October 24, 2021

Gallery Hours:
M - F 8:30am - 10:00pm
Sat 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Sun 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Closed on Monday, October 11

Hartman Deetz and Michelle Cook

Hartman Deetz is an enrolled member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Deetz has spent decades honing his skills in traditional Wampanoag arts, wood carving, stone carving, copper work, feather work, antler, bone and Wampum. Deetz learned from his family, and tribal elders and artists such as Daryl Wixon, Bruzzy Hendricks, Stewart Turner, Brian Bartibogue, and Bob Charlibioux. Deetz worked in museum artifact reproduction and exhibits contracting, and is a pow wow dancer who has made much of his own dance regalia. 

Michelle L. Cook is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and born of the Honághááhnii (One Who Walks Around You) clan. In 2015, Michelle received her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the University of New Mexico School of Law with a certificate in Federal Indian law and is, currently, a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) Candidate at the University of Arizona's Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. Her dissertation concerns the intersections of indigenous human rights, divestment, and gender in the United States. Michelle has received major grants and fellowships opportunities including a Fulbright Fellowship to study indigenous justice and customary legal systems in Aotearoa, New Zealand. From 2016-2020 she served as a Commissioner on the Navajo Human Rights Commission established to collect data regarding discriminatory acts against citizens of the Navajo Nation. Michelle frequently engages in public advocacy and speaking. She is a founding member of the Water Protector Legal Collective creating legal infrastructure for indigenous peoples encamped in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. She created an intersectional indigenous-led divestment campaign “The Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Europe” calling for European banks and institutions to divest from fossil fuels in support of indigenous peoples human rights. Her work has been featured in Reuters and has been interviewed by Glamour, The Guardian, and Cultural Survival International. She has also testified before UN bodies and representatives. 

Photo credit: Thomas Alejo