Early Works

Soaring Eagle

Acrylic on Canvas

The True Story of the Cowboys and Indians

Acrylic on Canvas

The story of the cowboy, like many of the icons and folklore woven into the modern day story of America, has largely been appropriated and transformed to fit a white narrative.

On the open range, and the dusty trails of the legendary cattle drives, it is estimated that one if four cowboys were African-American, with an even greater number being Mexican and indigenous. In fact, the Lone Ranger is believed to have been based on black lawman Bass Reeves, who traveled with an indigenous companion.

By nature, riding ranges left the cowboy autonomous to the racial oppression of daily contact with a boss. While Hollywood is full of tales of fights between cowboys and Indians this is also a great lie of history. Conflicts between cowboys and indigenous peoples were quite rare (clashes between raiding parties and ranchers after the 1880s when settlers crowded indigenous lands and fencing became more popular are another matter, though still greatly exaggerated). Free roaming cowboys most often made deals with the indigenous inhabitants as they crossed through their territories, negotiating tributes paid in cattle, or a common toll of 10 cents per head, though cattle were sometimes taken without negotiation.

Northern Bear

Acrylic on Canvas

Thunderbird Over You

Acrylic on Canvas

Last Man Standing

Acrylic on Canvas

Lead Warrior

Acrylic on Canvas

Lessons from Mother Deer to Eagle Son

Collaboration with Poet Lady Vanessa

Lessons from Mother Deer to Eagle Son
Art by: Mike Holden Art
Poetry by: Lady Vanessa

The day I gave birth to you
I saw what the Creator had painted
gifted you with the sharpest eye-sight in this kingdom

You will be the lion of the sky
Protector of Mother Earth
I will teach you mountains full of lessons

You may carry my heart on your wings
but you alone must learn to fly

War Party

28″ x 38″
Acrylic on Canvas
Charged by the light of Grandmother Moon, and electrified with the courage of their ancestors, three warriors ride into battle on the backs of their fates.


Redmonton Part ll

Redmonton Part lll

The Thunderbird has come

Thunderbird Warrior

In Permanent collection of Royal Alberta Museum

18″ x 24″ Acrylic on Canvas
Description: The coming of thunder in the spring is a gift from the Thunderbeings, a promise of renewal, an
awakening. The return of the thunder in the spring is a spiritual salve for the losses of the past year, and
throughout the harsh and unforgiving winters. It is a time for warriors to heal, and to grow strong again,
and to prepare. The Thunderbeings bring with their return, the recharge needed for a warrior to rise again
and to hold a place of courage and selflessness for the people. Artist Mike Holden carries Coming of
Thunder, as his traditional spirit name. He is also the son of a lightning strike survivor who carries a name
to honour the Thunderbeings, his name is Lead Thunderbird Man. The Thunderbird is depicted in this painting to show us the unseen bringers
of the thunder and lightning, and the rifles represent the harnessed power of the Thunderbeings that they
were believed to contain when they were first introduced, being powerful instruments to provide for and
protect the people. Behind the warrior is the sun, which returns along with the thunder to renew the
warrior’s strength

Bear Medicine

Grandmother Buffalo



Universal Balance

30″ x 39″ Acrylic on Canvas – 2018

We are humble. We are made of the earth and return to the earth, infused with the great mystery and spirit of the stars. We know that we share this place not just with the other tribes of men, but also with all things that hold spirit. When we see that things that hold sacredness are not given their proper place in the circle, we hear our elders and our ancestors say, ahkamēyimōk “try hard”. The warrior tries hard to keep the balance for all things. Mni Wiconi. “Water is Life”. Water is what raises spirits from the earth and sustains them throughout their journey as a four legged, a two legged, a finned, a flyer, a crawler, or a plant. Some of the human nation has forgotten this, putting the entire hoop at risk. We fill our pipes on sacred blankets and ask the Eagles of the winged nation to carry our prayers to Creator, that our humble place be once again remembered by all, and that we ourselves remember always ahkamēyimōk until the balance is restored and there is papayatik “peace”.

Returning To The Stars

19″ x 24″ Acrylic on Canvas – 2018

The warriors that lived on the prairies had the greatest respect for bears that lived with them and shared the food and lands. The same amount of preparation that went into preparing a war party to fight against an enemy tribe went into a hunting party to hunt a single prairie grizzly.Warriors would prepare themselves spiritually, inside sweat lodges, praying for strength, courage, a successful hunt. For nothing to go wrong. For no one to get hurt.They would prepare their weapons, to have the sharpest arrows, the sharpest spears. The tightest strung bows. A single hunting party for a single bear was up to 10-15 warriors.

Ceremony was done and prayers were sent to the creator on behalf of the bear and any animal that was ever hunted. For their spirits to return to the creator. For the spirit to return to the universe. To the source of creation. And my they live on forever.

Every single part of the bear was used. The fat, the muscles, the teeth, the organs. Absolutely nothing was ever wasted. The bear’s body was used to the fullest extent.