Charlene Holy Bear is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe, Charlene Holy Bear grew up mostly in northern New Mexico. When she was five years old she created her first doll under the guidance of her older sister Rhonda Holy Bear. A couple of years later, while her sister participated in the 1986 Santa Fe Indian Market, Charlene was encouraged to put a doll in to the youth juried competition and won her first award, a second place ribbon, which allowed her to buy her own filly and related accouterments.
She continued creating dolls while attending high school at the Santa Fe Indian School and participated in a couple of youth artist shows, in a local gallery, Mosi Lakai-Bi’kisi. Later, with her sister, she had dolls exhibited at the Morning Star Gallery, Santa Fe, NM while attending the University of New Mexico where she studied fine arts and art history.
Since then, she has used that background to create historically based interpretations of dolls that explore various concepts of Native American life.