Google Doodle Honors Native Author James Welch

Google Doodle Honors Native Author James Welch

If you logged on to Google this morning you may have noticed the homepage paid homage to ledger art and a Native American writer. Just time to celebrate Native American Heritage Month!

Read more from Google's blog about the Doodle and the man who inspired it.

Today’s Doodle by artist Sophie Diao pays tribute to James Welch, the Blackfeet writer, on what would be his 76th birthday. Through his novels, documentary film, and poems, Welch gave voice to the struggles and humanity of the Native American experience in the United States.

Thirty years ago, Welch published his best known work, Fools Crow, the story of the Blackfeet people during the period of post-civil war encroachment by Europeans. In this award-winning novel, the Blackfeet seek to continue traditional ways, and to avoid both contact and conflict. As a whole, Welch’s works emphasized the humanity of native peoples and their deep attachment to their homelands. He was considered an early part of what was later dubbed the Native American Renaissance, during which native writers celebrated tribal culture and revealed its complex problems in works readily accessible to the larger American public.

Welch, who as a young man described himself as an “Indian who writes,” gained an international audience. His works were appreciated universally for both their artistic appeal and ability to bring the experiences of the Native American people to life.


The Doodle artist also spoke with Smithsonian Magazine about the process of creating it.

Diao, who has a background in film storytelling and animation, found inspiration not just in Welch’s books, but in ledger art, a form of 19th-century artwork created by Native Americans in the margins of old account books and ledgers that saw a revival in the late 20th century. “It’s a really unique style,” she tells “So pretty. It caught my eye and I really wanted to do something around that.”

She also went on to say the project took six weeks! So now you know a lot of thought goes into making these Google Doodles!

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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