Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day and in addition to sharing resources (below) about better understanding and supporting indigenous communities, I wanted to share one of my favorite photos taken by photographer Matika Wilbur. In 2012 Matika Wilbur sold everything in her apartment and hit the road to create Project 562 , a photography series with the goal of developing, “a body of imagery and cultural representations of Native Peoples to counteract the relentlessly insipid, one-dimensional stereotypes circulating in mainstream media, historical textbooks and the culture industry”. In addition to this goal, Matika wanted to highlight and celebrate the next generation of positive indigenous role models and has traveled across the country (and continues to travel) to take portraits and speak about the importance of discussing (and changing) the way we see Native Americans.
Matika took this photo (above) of Miss Indian Nations 20, Shannon Hooper (Paiute Shoshone from Fallon, Nevada) and shared a wonderful interview with her about the significance of dance and ceremony, specially the fancy shawl dance for pow wow. Matika has shared stories like this on her blog for years now and today felt like a great time to revisit them.
If you’d like to learn more about indigenous people, here are some ways to learn, support and get involved:
- Learn more about the Native American organizations that exist in America and ways you can support them or attend events to learn more. The NARF is a great place to start.
- Learn about the history of indigenous people where you live and support existing communities.
- Learn about and support indigenous artists and makers and collectives, like Eighth Generation.
- Find a way to volunteer if you are able to contribute in a way that will make a difference to a local indigenous community. Be sure to speak with them or any organizing groups before deciding what and how they would prefer to receive support.
- Support and visit one of the many museums dedicated to Native American history and art.