The snub has been felt most deeply by contemporary Indian artists trying to break out and define their work beyond traditional culture. They've struggled against strong preconceptions to show there is more than one kind of Indian art and that being an Indian artist can mean many things.
"While there, I had a revelation," he says. "I was painting Plains Indian-type stuff - you get caught up in the market in Santa Fe. I was painting this Indian man shooting a buffalo, and, for some reason, I felt I needed to be more connected to my work. I didn't feel I was connected to that image.
"I grew up on horses, but I never shot a buffalo. I had never really seen a buffalo. I started asking myself a lot of questions. A teacher, Craig Anderson, nurtured me. He said `If you feel you need integrity, that's how you should paint.'"