Published on December 1, 2010 by John
L. Frank is the nom d’arte of L. Frank Manriquez, a California Indian artist, writer, tribal scholar, cartoonist, and community activist. She belongs to the Tongva and Acjachemen tribes of California.
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In 1990, L. Frank was Artist in Residence at the Headland Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California; her artwork has been exhibited widely throughout California and appears in several publications.
Her regular column/graphic, “Acorn Soup,” has appeared in the quarterly newsletter News from Native California since 1992. “Acorn Soup” features the comic adventures of Coyote in his various guises: the Creator of the Universe and the Buffoon, the Trickster and the Tricked, always the Indian’s Wise Fool. A selection of L. Frank’s “Acorn Soup” cartoons have been collected and published in book form. Concerning L. Frank, one reviewer of the book at Amazon.com commented: “Introducing the Gary Larson of the Native American cartoon world!”
Another book, “First Families: Photographic History of California Indians” with co-author Kim Hogeland, is due to be published in September 2006. It is an introduction to California’s native populations, with pictures such as the re-creation and sailing of the tii’at (a traditional Tongva/Gabrieleño canoe) off Catalina Island in 1995, to the 1918 picture of Kumeyaay men performing a sacred funerary dance with karuk (vision) dolls, to an image from 1932 of Salinans leading anthropologist J. P. Harrington on an expedition along California’s central coast. Each chapter covers a different region of California, with brief essays introducing the region’s cultures, histories, and contemporary life.
She is a Board Member of the California Indian Basketweavers Association and one of seven founding board members of the Advocates for Indigenous California Languages, organizations that are involved in the preservation and revival of Native Californian languages through traditional arts practice, language immersion, conferences and workshops.
She has won several awards for her activities, including from the American Association of University Women, the James Irvine Foundation, the Fund for Folk Culture (for travel to the Native Californian art collection at the Musée de l’ Homme in Paris). In 1995 she was featured as a “Local Hero” in KQED-TV/Examiner Newspaper’s Native American Heritage Month series.
She is also very involved in the Two-Spirit culture.