Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Paul Ackley’s Artwork Now Displayed in New Courtroom

Earlier this year, a new courtroom was built to house the Sokaogon Chippewa Tribal Court in the Family Services building. Over the summer, the Tribal Court held a contest for local artists to submit their artwork for a mural in the new courtroom.

Artists were asked to submit a sketch detailing the concept of their mural design, and the Tribal Council selected a panel of judges to choose the winning design. Three Tribal Member artists submitted their work, and the winning submission came from Paul Ackley. The mural was completed on October 6th.

The vibrant mural depicts familiar Northwoods imagery: a sunset on a lake framed by pine and birch trees. Loons swim in the foreground.

Paul described the piece in great detail, sharing: “It’s a woodland water scene, reminiscent of the Northwoods and because of the canoe, it is indigenous to our Reservation. With the canoe, I added a few changes and used a miniature canoe that was made by Larry Van Zile as a reference in the painting. So, there may have been more seats in the canoe, but I wanted it to be a scale of the mini canoe the Clerk had in her office.”

A prolific artist and U.S. Army Veteran, Paul credits Richard Ackley, Sr., his father, with instilling a deep love of artistry. The artistic legacy of Mr. Ackley, Sr., can be seen in artwork around the Reservation. Some members of the community may remember the hand-drawn cards he gave loved ones over the years before passing in 2016.

Paul studied art in Chicago, at both the American Academy of Art and Columbia College. He is perhaps best known for his editorial cartoons, which have been published by The Daily Advocate, The Early Bird and The Dayton City Paper, among others. His highly sought-after artistic skill has been commissioned numerous times, and he is the recipient of five Associated Press Awards.

Paul is grateful to leave his own artistic legacy here and hopes that it encourages other members of the Tribe to take pride in their community.

“I’m a Tribal Member and an artist, and it’s nice to leave some artwork behind that will be there forever,” he said. “When people see the painting, I want them to feel pride for the Reservation and appreciate their beautiful surroundings and Tribal history.”

Congratulations Paul! Chi Miigwech!!