The year 2020 marked the 400-year anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival from England. The 400 Years Project tells a story of this voyage’s aftermath, one that includes the myth of Thanksgiving, centering the Native voice. The Mayflower carried the colonists who would establish the first permanent white settlement in New England, forever changing the course of history for every Native American. Yet this history, planted in 1492 and recorded in countless books and media and taught in schools, is told narrowly through the lens of the colonizers. The 400 Years Project, founded by Brian Adams, Sheena Brings Plenty, and Sarah Stacke, looks at the evolution of Native identity, rights, and representation. Composed of photo essays, a Library of Native Photographers from the mid-1800s to the Present, and texts, this photography project provides a narrative of Native empowerment while recognizing the devastating effects of colonization.
Moving forward, The 400 Years Project will continue to commission original photo stories and texts, license established work, and add contemporary and historic photographers to the Library, creating a groundbreaking pictorial collection of Native America by Native artists and allies.
"Who is telling stories about Native nations is really important," says Brian. "This project lets Native photographers tell the stories of their communities without any middleperson explaining anything."
The 400 Years Project is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors and partners:
Old Dominion University (special shout out to Jennifer Fish), The Margaret House Foundation, Elena Prohaska Glinn, Anchorage Museum, Rima Vargas-Vetter and Paul Ukena.
We would also like to extend many thanks to Lillian Zumberge for her text editing talent, Jamie Wellford and Gail Fletcher at National Geographic for their support of "Cherokee Lands," Mike Hartley of bigflannel for this gorgeous site, Maggie Soladay at OSF, and everyone who spends time with The 400 Years Project.