A photography project looking at the evolution of Native American identity, rights, and representation, centering the Native voice.
After most major powwows in the U.S. were cancelled because of the global pandemic, Native American dancers, singers, and vendors turned to virtual powwows to fill the void. Tailyr Irvine goes behind the scenes of these online events to show the strength of powwow communities and the ways they carry on traditions in a time of social isolation.
Ash Adams’s series, “To Become A Person,” explores coming of age in Indigenous rural Alaska in the wake of colonization and during a time of rapidly advancing technology, climate change, and cultural resiliency. Many of the youth, the grandchildren of the boarding school era, grapple daily with the side effects of generational trauma while becoming leaders of the future.
Osage Cooks are esteemed and honored within the Osage community. They are regularly called upon for funerals, handgames, and ceremonies, to cook large amounts of food. Ryan RedCorn photographs the cooks in front of ceremonial fabrics along with the utensils of their choice, many of which are passed down from generation to generation.
“Where I come from, art is something that has come to us through thousands of years,” says Madison Hye Long. Madison's series is rooted in her belief that Native Americans should “not be defined by blood quantum or by enrollment card, but by the richness of our history and artistic achievements, the beauty of what has been passed down, and how we as Native artists are able to express ourselves in the modern age.”
Kali Spitzer makes tintype photographs of her BIPOC, queer, femme, trans, and gender non-conforming community from an Indigenous perspective to challenge pre-conceived notions of race, gender, and sexuality. “An Exploration of Resilience and Resistance” is about identity, culture, strength, vulnerability, and love. The series expresses her community’s experience of becoming more empathic, empowered people in the face of the hardships they have endured and seeks to share with the viewer not just their pain, but their spirit and perseverance.
The resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota began in 2016 with a few young people intent on reminding the world that “Water Is Life.” Mni Wičoni. Eventually tens of thousands of people gathered. Erika Larsen’s portrait series from Standing Rock, “Greater Than a Pipeline,” captures silent moments, where Larsen says humanity has taught her the most.
In the Great Smoky Mountains, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI), the tribe is reclaiming culturally and historically important lands stolen during colonization.
“I AM INUIT,” a series of portraits and short stories by Brian Adams, connects the world with Alaskan Inuit (Inupiat, Yup'ik, Cup'ik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik) and the Arctic through common humanity.