Joyce Lee Tate Nevaquaya's parents named him in honor of Dr. Joyce, the physician who delived their son. He may also have been nicknamed Doc in honor of Dr. Joyce. when DOC was orphaned at 13 years of age, he went to live with his grandparents, which strengthened his ties to his comanche heritage. Doc made his home in Apache, OK. DOC worked as a teacher, a Methodist lay minister, a lecturer, historian, dancer, singer & composer. DOC was a renowned flute maker & an accomplished flutist & painter. A self-taught artist, DOC worked in oil, acrylic, watercolor, tempera & prints.
Doc exhibited his artwork extensively & won numerous awards at the Rose State college Native American Arts & Crafts Show (Midwest City, OK), the American Indian Exposition (Anadarko, OK), the Trail of Tears Art Show at the Cherokee National Museum (Tahlequah, OK), the Annual Indian Art Exhibition at the Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK), the Scottsdale National Indian Art Exhibition (Scottsdale, AZ), the Southwestern Indian Arts Festival (Albuquerque, NM), the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials (Gallup, NM) & the All-American Indian Art Show (St. Charles, IL). DOC also exhibited at the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the All-Oklahoma Indian Artists Invitational at the Oklahoma Art Center Gallery (Oklahoma City, OK), the Museum of the American Indian at the Heye Foundation (New York, NY), the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts (Owensboro, KY), the Native American Center for the Living Arts (Niagara Falls, NY), the New Mexico State Fair (Albuquerque, NM), the Navajo Tribal Fair & Rodeo (Window Rock, AZ), the Oklahoma Museum of Art (Oklahoma City, OK), the Red Cloud Indian Art show (Pine Ridge, SD), the Red Earth Festival (Oklahoma City, OK), the sacred Circle Gallery of American Indian Art (Seattle, WA), the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK), the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Indianapolis, IN), Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (Santa Fe, NM), & the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.). Doc had solo exhibitions at the Oklahoma Historical Society Museum (Oklahoma City, OK) & the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center (Anadarko, OK). In 1981, Doc participated in Views & Visions: The Symbolic Imagery of the Native American church at the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center (Anadarko, OK). In 1992, Doc participated in the Franco-American Institute Exhibit in Rennes, France.
Doc was awarded several commissions, including a buffalo hide painting he designed & executed for the Comanche Tribe for a presentation at the Fort Still (OK) Centennial, a Comanche Shield he designed & executed for the Smithsonian Institution to honor the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the National Folk Festival, & a full-sized Comanche Tipi he designed & decorated for the Southern Plains Indian Museum & Craft Center (Anadarko, OK). In 1982, Doc designed two coins for the Oklahoma Diamond Jubilee commission.
Doc was appointed the Director of Indian Art for the first Inaugural Art Show by the Governor of Oklahoma. In 1969, DOC was awarded the outstanding Indian Artists Award by Southwestern State college (Weatherford, OK). In 1975, Doc was selected to present an Indian cultural program for the International Theater Conference's First American Visit. In 1982, Doc gave a flute performance for the Night of the First American at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.). In 1982, Doc was named the outstanding Citizen for the Diamond Jubilee Heritage Week by the Apache, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. In 1986, Doc was awarded a Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts (Washington, D.C.). On sept. 5, 1986, the American Indian Support Society held a reception in Doc's honqr at the United States Cpitol Building (Washington, D.C.). In 1986, the Comanche Tribe proclaimed the second Friday in October as Joyce "Doc" Tate Nevaquaya Day. On Oct. 10, 1986, Doc was awarded the LaDonna Harris Award by the Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity. In 1987, Ralph oliver listed Doc Tate Nevaquaya as one of the best investments in Indian Art, & he designated Doc as a Living Legend in 1990. In 1990, Doc presented a flute performance at Carnegie Hall (New York, NY). In 1994, Doc was named to the Advisory Board for Red Earth, Inc. (Oklahoma City, OK). In 1994, Doc was awarded the Artist of the West Award at the American Indian & Cowboy Artists National Western Art Exhibition (San Dimas, CA).
Numerous private & public art collections feature artwork by Doc Tate Nevaquaya, including the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History & Art (Tulsa, OK) & the Woolaroc Museum (Bartlesville, OK).