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Acclaimed ‘ledger’ artist George Flett dies at 66

Spokane tribal member suffered from diabetes

Nationally known artist and Spokane tribal member George Flett died Wednesday afternoon, his daughter Regina Flett said today.

He was 66.

Flett had had diabetes since the early 1980s and had been going through dialysis three times a week, she said.

“His heart wasn’t strong enough for dialysis,” his daughter said. “So he chose to come home.”

Flett was skilled in sculpture, bead working and silversmithing, but was perhaps best known for his ledger art. The traditional American Indian art form dates back to the mid-1800s when Plains Indians drew pictographic representations of heroic deeds and sacred visions on pages torn from U.S. Army ledger books. Flett based all his paintings on Spokane Indian legends, history and cultural events, past news stories said.

Flett received degrees from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M., in 1966 and from the University of Colorado in 1968. His book, “George Flett: Ledger Art,” was published in 2007 by New Media Ventures, a subsidiary of Cowles Co., which owns The Spokesman-Review.

Flett’s artwork has been widely displayed around the Inland Northwest and nationwide at galleries in Santa Fe, Oklahoma, Arizona and Montana. He taught workshops at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The work of ledger artist George Flett, courtesy of the artist.

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