Native Dancer Project: Meet the Artist
Ariann Rousu is an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation in Minnesota and grew up on the reservation in Callaway, MN. She works at UND’s CRC in the AI and VR Lab as an artist/designer on the Native Dancer Project.
Native Dancer is a project to implement a multi-user computer environment for competitive powwow dancing using several advanced technologies. Ariann’s work on the project involves designing digital gaming characters. The characters will consist of models dressed in street clothing as well as in Native dance regalia. The dance regalia is found in dances custom to the Anishinaabe, Dakota, Lakota, Sioux, and other northern plains associated tribes. The Native Dancer team will also be rigging these characters and their clothing to move in ways associated with Native dancing.
Ariann graduated from high school off the reservation in Detroit Lakes, MN, where she first began working with digital media. After high school she attended school at three different Minnesota State campuses in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, and Fergus Falls. Ariann received a Photography and Digital Imaging certification. She also earned Associates degrees in Liberal Arts and Fine Arts before coming to UND. She has since graduated from UND with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2022.
Throughout her studies Ariann ran a photography business, “Ariann Rousu Photography,” on the White Earth Reservation. She is now focusing on a career in art and design.
“I am excited to take part in this project as a creator passionate about technology and digital media. It has always been important to me to keep learning and expanding my skill set as an artist as well as play my part in being prideful of, preserving and sharing my Native culture. This project is challenging me to do just that, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”