First, read Jezebel’s Combating the Misrepresentation of Native Americans, Through Photos. Then, for more background and photos, read The New York Times’ Rejecting Stereotypes, Photographing ‘Real’ Indians. Finally, because you’re just as into this as I am, check out Matika Wilbur’s Kickstarter video as well as her own blog for more photos and information. Bonus: you can also watch her TEDx Talk, Surviving Disappearance, Re-Imagining & Humanizing Native Peoples.
“Last December, Native American photographer Matika Wilbur embarked upon a journey with a staggeringly ambitious goal — over the next few years, she hopes to photograph members of every single Native American tribe. There were 562 recognized by the federal government when she started (and 566 now), hence the project’s title: Project 562.” [Jezebel]
“She only asks her subjects to be photographed outdoors on indigenous land. It is challenging, since weather and lighting are as unpredictable as where her subjects choose to be photographed is. She has waded through icy water, flown in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon and driven thousands of miles. After printing her images, she hand colors sections with oil paint to emphasize certain parts.
At the completion of the project, she plans to create a moving photo exhibit, accompanied by a book, photographs, video and geographical mapping features to pinpoint tribes across the country. A collection of her images and audio interviews will be on display at The Tacoma Art Museum in May.” [New York Times]
Amazing, amazing, amazing. People like Matika Wilbur give me hope for humanity, and that is not an exaggeration. Let yourself be moved by her passion and creativity.