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George Longfish (Seneca/Tuscarora) was born in 1942 in Oshweken, Ontario, Canada. Raised on the Iroquois Indian reservation and later, in Chicago, where he graduated in 1960 from Tuley High School, Longfish was trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied painting, sculpture, film and printmaking, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1970 and a Masters of Fine Arts in 1972. In 1973, Longfish, left the University of Montana's Graduate Program in American Indian Art to accept a professorship in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, a position he held for 30 years. From 1974 to 1996, Longfish also served as Director of the University's C.N. Gorman Museum.

Widely recognized for his modernist paintings and sculpture, and for his bold deployment of art as political activism, Longfish quickly earned an international reputation as a writer, curator, and educator. He has participated in more than 200 exhibitions, with much of his work on extended tour throughout Europe, South America, and Canada. Group and solo exhibition venues have included the Berkeley Art Center, Heard Museum (Phoenix), Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe), Kennedy Center (NY), Museum of the Plains Indian (MT), Native American Center for the Living Arts (Niagara Falls, NY), Oglala Lakota College (South Dakota), Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK), Portland Art Museum, Queens Museum, Sacred Circle Gallery of American Indian Art (Seattle), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, School of Visual Arts (NY), Casa de las Américas (Havana, Cuba), Canadian Museum of Civilization (Hull, Québec).

Longfish, who now lives and works in Maine, was a featured artist for the National Museum of the American Indian's Continuum — 12 Artists exhibition at the George Gustav Heye Center, in New York.

"Historically, many of the images of Native American life have been distorted and documented with prejudice... The images I create are meant to question the stereotypical romantic image of Native People so often portrayed in past as well as current media." — Longfish, New Art of the West 7 (Eiteljorg Museum, 2000)