Kyiyo Mission Statement
The purpose of our organization is to bridge the faculty and students of the University of Montana with the communities of Missoula and surrounding areas. Through extra-curricular activities and community building, we will engage others in our cultural traditions in order to unify and promote the cultural identity of American Indians/Alaska Natives.
John Isaiah Pepion is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation in northern Montana. While a freshman in high school at Two Eagle River High School in Pablo, Montana, Pepion was selected to visit the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He became inspired to follow in the footsteps of several family members who had attended IAIA and enrolled in the Oscar Howe Art Institute in South Dakota. In 2004 he received his Associate of Arts degree in Art Marketing from the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota and started painting with watercolors in the Plains Indian ledger style in 2005. John went on to graduate from IAIA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies and began applying the Plains ledger style he developed with ink and color pencils to historically significant 1800's ledger paper. He begins each piece by illustrating ideas stemming from his personal life and cultural history and incorporates the colorful designs of the Blackfeet into his artwork. Today John is a rising contemporary ledger artist whose powerful imagery represents aspects of culture that intrigue the viewer and often tell a story.