I Changed Something That’s Degrading

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“I changed something that’s degrading toward Native women and Native culture into something ridiculous … so that there is no power in the words or imagery.” –Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke)

This Constant Denial of Our Existence

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“This idea that the fight against the mascotting of Native people is something new and led by white folks is an oddly insular and navel-gazing way to understand the issue—and yet another way of cutting Native people out of the American discourse about things that matter to us. By reframing the issue this way, the Washington NFL team continues to make real, modern Native people to disappear, much as their mascot does. It’s a continuation of the extinguishment of the Native voice and the appropriation of our identity and lands. This constant denial of our existence that leads Native youth to feel disconnected from American society and exacerbates the burdens of poverty; Native youth have three times the suicide rate of their American peers of any ethnicity. It also leads to bad policy decisions by non-Native politicians and poor funding for the very real needs of our communities.” -Jackie Keeler (Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux)

Our Job Is To Nurture That Next Generation

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“I have a vision that Indian country will have a philosophical shift; that every one of us will have a responsibility to reach out and touch every young person’s life, no matter who we are. Our job is to help nurture that next generation and if we change how we communicate, engage and listen, we will have a better chance.” -Jacqueline Pata (Tlingit)

These Fictions Create Confusion When They Meet Reality

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“See? There’s the wallpaper. The ever-present expectation of Indianness from the Western movies and the storybooks. These fictions create confusion when they meet reality. These fictions can create harm when they replace reality.” -Nancy Marie Mithlo (Chiricahua Apache)

The Spiritual Tradition is Part of All My Work, My Daily Life

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“The spiritual tradition is part of all of my work, my daily life, because it acknowledges the life of the earth and all that lives on it. I do not place any life above other life. I watch how the forest is important to water, both to aquifers and to calling down rain, even to communication with other trees, and the ground it exists in and the Earth is filled with so much life inside it, a terrestrial intelligence we no longer understand. But our people of the past knew.” -Linda Hogan (Chickasaw)