Nisenan Heritage Day – HOME


Homelands: Restoration*Sovereignty Recognition ~ Art Reception
Friday, November 1, 6 -10 PM
Nevada City Winery: 321 Spring St, Nevada City

Inspired by the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe’s desire to collaborate with local artists. A group exhibition of art that reflects positive social change and the power of art to transform a community and bring visibility to the tribe. 

Panel Discussion and Interviews with Shelly Covert and Ruth Chase
HOME at Nisenan Heritage Day 
Saturday, November 2, 10-4PM  Panel Discussion 11-12 PM
Sierra College: 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley

CHIRP in collaboration with the Nevada County Arts Council HOME will be filming at Nisenan Heritage Day. Come join the conversation and learn more about Visibility Through Art.

Made possible in part from a California Arts Council grant (Artist in Communities), HOME is a project that brought in NCAC Artist in Residence, Ruth Chase, for artist-to-artist mentoring sessions and workshops for this year’s Visibility Through Art participants. Tribal members were paired with local artists and together, art was created through these unique pairings.

To learn more about CHIRP and the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan:

Ginger Covert, Lorena Davis, Sarah Thomas, Saxon Thomas, Cassandra Johnson, Shelly Covert, Karen McCluskey, and Richard Johnson. IN SPIRIT, Dutch Rose, Carmel, Jackson Rose, Alberta “Birdie” Gallez, and Maryann Start.

Nikila Badu, Bo Blain, Andy Cerrona, Ruth Chase, Mira Clark, Rama Cryer, Jose Dominguez, Indigo Donaldson, Jenny Hale, Jessa Hurst, Dani Joy, Jarod Kane, Ron Kenedi, Lori Lachman, Bishop Randall, Teighlor Renee Anderson, Jennifer Rugge, Miles Toland, Alyssa Walz, Leilani Webb, and Chloe Young.
70308979_377465316260313_945605911425056768_n - Andrew Cerrona
Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribal Council Member Saxon Thomas sharing the gift of Nisenan language with his children. The Nisenan language is being reclaimed and revitalized.
Photo Credit: Jessica Thomas
In photo: Saxon Thomas and his children


I AM HERe Installation

Women in a Rural County

Women are an essential part of any community, yet their sense of belonging is often tied into gender roles, not always satisfying their sense of belonging. Mother, sister, partner, we all have women in our lives. I AM HERe is intended to mirror the voices of how men and women view women’s unique sense of belonging against the backdrop of our rural community. Lead artist Ruth Chase has sought to examine her own sense of belonging over the course of a year by asking questions through social media and taking her personal journey alongside the community. Now, the public is invited to share their own stories about themselves or the women in their lives by participating in the public art installation.

Documentary ‘Belonging’ featured at Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Laura Peterson                                                
Special to The Union
January 15, 2019

Ruth Chase by Lori Lachman 2018

In her film, “Belonging” local artist and director, Ruth Chase documents the stories of people living in Nevada County, including Shelly Covert, spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria, Nisenan Tribe.

The film is an initiative of Nevada County Art Council and funded in part by California Arts Council through its Artists in Communities Program. Chase and Covert are scheduled to show the film during this week’s 17th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Nevada City and Grass Valley.

The pair are scheduled to participate in activities such as opening reception, art shows, fireside chats, coffee talks, workshops and film panels throughout the five-day environmental and adventure film festival that attracts filmmakers, change-makers, and activists from around the globe.

The two sat down and answered a few questions. Chase had this to say:

What inspired you to make the film, “Belonging?”

“Belonging” is about how people find a sense of belonging through the land, the earth, and the environment. I was initially interested in examining the unique connection people have with the land they were born on and if that connection changes when residing in a place other than their birthplace.


Racial Literacy | BELONGING to the Land

Sunday, July 29, 3-5p

Inspired by Ruth Chase’s ambitious multi-media installation about the land we live on and the notion of belonging, Racial Literacy, Nevada County offers a free, facilitated community conversation in the World Café style at Summer Thyme’s where the BELONGING Community Exhibition, curated by Ruth is on display. 

We are collaborating with Chase to expand her artistic intention by creating the opportunity for local residents to experience, as she states, “powerful insights that allow people to find a sense of belonging within their community.” We also welcome Nevada City Rancheria Secretary Shelly Covert. 

Join us to talk with each other in a real and candid way about our own sense of belonging along with our relationships with the Nisenan people and this beautiful region that the Nisenan have called “home” for thousands of years.

On Friendship and BELONGING

The BELONGING project is a journey I’m taking with the community of Nevada County. Every week I ask a question on Facebook that explores how we find a sense of belonging. Here is the question I asked most recently.

How do the friendships you had growing up shape your sense of belonging now?

Growing up I felt an incredible pain from feeling like I didn’t belong in my own home while I dreamed of belonging where I wasn’t wanted, with my dad. My dad and I shared the same looks and big personality, I felt comfortable with him because we were alike. As a child my friendships often reflected these same family dynamics, feeling like an outcast in friendships that I perceived I didn’t belong in because I wasn’t enough. Further making me feel incredibly insecure about if I would ever belonging with anyone, anywhere. I think that is why I cried so much on my wedding day, someone wanted me to “belong” with them. To this day I rarely feel like I fit in with most people so I cherish the relationships where I do feel a sense of belonging. After many years of rejection from the art world, I have come to realize that none of it is personal and that I belong to myself first and foremost.


So, how do the friendships you had growing up shape your sense of belonging now? 



A pop-up installation where Ruth gave hugs, postcards, and took photos.
This backdrop was painted by Ruth and photos were taken to share the value individuals have in our communities.  The public was encouraged to hang their photo at home where it can be seen as a reminder of their importance.


Please email Ruth your I BELONG HERE images from wherever you are