A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

I write to you from my window seat 35k feet above land aboard Alaska Airlines flight 355. I don't know why, but it's always easier to write to you from these seats.I'm heading to the Oakland airport, where I'll catch the Bart to UC Berkeley. Tomorrow morning I'll connect with students and encourage the paradigm shift we so desperately need. I'll discuss native identity with them, I'll share about my adventures and setbacks, and I'll encourage them to be brave, and maybe, hopefully, be inspired. That's the goal of tomorrow morning’s presentation. As of late, there have been so many presentations.  I gave a keynote at the National Indian Education Association, at a highly secretive government agency, and at more universities than I can name. 2015 was so grand....  I moved into the "Big Girl" and learned how to live inside a 22-foot home that requires the dumping of #1's & 2's once a week, has a tiny-tiny shower, and has the capacity to make coffee while cruising down some straight-away. I received invitations to the White House and countless Rez houses. I made the best of friends; sojourned below the sea in Hawaii, climbed trees in Akwesasne, rode airboats in the Everglades, and crisscrossed the country (twice).The beginning of 2016 was spent with my family, especially Treyton, my extraordinarily hilarious, brilliant, and thoughtful thirteen year old nephew ...

Reconsider Columbus. Honor Indigenous People's Day
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

Our words carry medicine.  We use our words to pray for our children.  We use our words to heal.  We use our words to uplift and inspire. Our words, though, can carry poison as well.  Observing a holiday in honor of Christopher Columbus perpetuates and exploits ignorance. It hurts Native Americans by reinforcing our absence from our national consciousness and celebrating our genocide and it hurts non-Native’s by reinforcing the arrival of a European as a more impressive story than the indigenous story of survival, stewardship and sovereignty. We know that the “Columbus consciousness” has left a deep impression on us because we did a brief survey underneath the shadow of the infamous Columbus Circle relic in New York City. With a crew of Natives, we asked over 100 New Yorkers to identify the “origin” of our Native models to understand where contemporary Native lives exist in popular consciousness. If Columbus had his way, we’d all be dead.  But indigenous erasure from national consciousness has a similar effect.  When we celebrate Columbus, we celebrate the beginning of our erasure. The continued celebration of Columbus continues to silence us, continues to render us invisible and extinct.The indigenous story is more accurate, and it’s a story that we all deserve to hear. Let us begin to write and ...

NEW EXHIBITION: Natural Wanderment: Stewardship. Sovereignty. Sacredness.
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

Please join us Friday, October 23, at 7pm at The Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip for a special opening celebration! There will be yummy food, traditional songs, and beautiful presentations from special guest speakers. Come celebrate Project 562's newest collection: "Natural Wanderment: Stewardship - Sovereignty - Sacredness", a collection of Project 562 portraits showcasing stories that honor the mother earth and protect ancestral ways of life.  Please RSVP info@project562.com, as space is limited.Peace and love,MatikaTulalip, Washington – The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve is proud to present Matika Wilbur’s newest Project 562 collection: “Natural Wanderment: Stewardship – Sovereignty – Sacredness”, an exhibition of Native American portraits and stories that honors and seeks to protect ancestral ways of life and lands in North America.  Project 562 offers a creative relationship with people from 562+ Tribal Nations in the United States that builds cultural bridges, abandons stereotypes, and renews and inspires our national legacy. Matika Wilbur’s Project 562 is an inspiring artistic adventure unfolding the living history of North America’s ancient peoples.  Over the last three years and 250,000 miles, Wilbur, one of the nation’s leading photographers, has journeyed tirelessly to hear ...

Beyond Vacationland: the Native American Cape Cod Story
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

Driving just a few hours south and east of Boston, the Project 562 war pony reached the storied shores of Cape Cod, the region of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, iconic in the American scene as an immensely beautiful, exclusive oceanic outpost of the rich and powerful. But the Cape, as it is known, is another place entirely when viewed through the lens of the history and reality of Turtle Island (the Native way of referencing North America). This stunning seaside expanse of elegant private estates comprises the ancestral lands of the Wampanoag people and this tribe is considered a “first contact nation” with whites in North America.   Tribal tribal historian Ramona Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag) explains that Wampanoag culture and tradition intrinsically offer welcome and care for others.  The Puritans in the 1600s would have been greeted by her forbearers in this way, however the rampant white occupation of Native lands in that era prompted King Phillip’s violent resistance. Deadly reprisal and colonial suppression ensued. Tribal conflicts and a series of betrayals continued as the outsiders took more land by force, and eventually overran the region prompting a centuries-long saga of state and federal government misdeeds against the Wampanoag began.  In the modern era, the tribe has waged costly, protracted legal battles in ...

The Big O...
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

Project 562 was featured in Oprah Magazine! We can’t tell you the joy and pride we felt to flip open the August issue of Oprah magazine see these beautiful photos looking back at us—and to think of the thousands and thousands of people that would be able to see our friends Jessica, Juanita, Josh, and more gracing the pages of the magazine gave us chills. We wanted to share with you the article that accompanied the photos, and provide more in-depth stories about each of the participants pictured in the magazine. Here is a photo of the layout in the magazine (the full article with photos can also be viewed online):  The text reads: Google "Asian Americans," "Latin Americans" or just plain "Americans," and you'll see images of people you might meet on any given day: a barista, a neighbor, a coworker. But Google "Native Americans," and you'll see men in headdresses on horseback, typically from previous centuries.  Such underrepresentation—plus alarmingly high substance abuse, suicide and school dropout rates among Native American youth—led Matika Wilbur in 2012, then a high school teacher, to sell most of her possessions and hit the road. The goal: to photograph members of all 566 federally recognized tribes. "I aim to humanize Native Americans," says Wilbur, 31, who is of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes in ...

Project 562's Summer Update: Crisis and Faith in The Shimmering Waters
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

Hello!So much has happened since my last report in January. The Project 562 "war pony" (actually a nimble and parkable Volkswagen Rialta RV: think of it as the ultimate rolling dorm room) has plied the wide lanes and byways of Interstate 10 across the southern U.S., welcomed into remarkable tribal communities such as The Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo in Texas, the Houma in Louisiana, and the Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes of Florida. I've gone on to head up the Atlantic seaboard, with amazing stops with the Choctaw and Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina, and am currently in the Northeast preparing for an extensive trip to Tribal communities throughout New England and Canada. I want to share that in my southern swing I had a moving encounter with a remarkable culture-bearer and leader (one in the same, usually) who, as others have done before in this journey, opened my eyes to ominous issues affecting his tribe and the rest of us, but who also touched my heart by offering such inspirational wisdom, positivity, and hope. Michael Frank of Miccosukee, the Everglades, Florida, is a seer and guardian of his people and their natural home who in early life and now as an elder has been unshakably devoted to celebrating, protecting, and restoring this extraordinary ancestral territory. I had heard of the ecological frailty of the "shimmering water," as the tribe refers to this vast ...

Existence and Resistance: The Trek of the Navajo Walkers Against Fracking
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

On January 16th, way out in a small town in called Cuba, we waited in a McDonalds parking lot for the Navajo Walkers. I’d read a little about the Walkers, but, like most of Project 562, I had no idea what to expect. As we sat idle in the fast food parking lot I was amused by the surprising hustle and bustle of this far out place: french fries and turquoise earrings for sale; ranchers, beggars and big haired Navajo debutants- all crowding in for a Big Mac. I think to myself, “What a conundrum of a place, it’s so sad and greasy in the heart of one of the largest, culture rich reservations in the United States.” Each face that enters is either Navajo (or maybe Pueblo), but the Biligana, or white man, are a rarity. In the midst of my pondering, three Diné women squished into a red rez truck arrived.  Kim, Theresa and Laura climbed into the Project 562 RV full of chuckles, excitement and great big hugs, super-excited to have us join them.  We agree to get on the road to rendezvous with the rest of the Navajo Walkers, but first, we need coffee.  We step into the dark parking lot where evidence of previous snowfall tickles the ground and we shiver from the rapidly declining temperature. We’re approached by three Native men who are obviously intoxicated- public intoxication is not a stranger to us, unfortunately we’ve seen it before- especially in border towns. Only moments before, I ...

Upcoming Adventures in 2015!
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

Hello Lovely!Project 562 is starting off 2015 with a bang! Currently, Project 562 is visiting Pueblos in New Mexico, and once completed, we will be making our way back towards the East Coast. This is our upcoming project route:The Pueblos that remain to be photographed are Sandia, Zia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santo Domingo, Pojoaque, Nambe, Tesuque and Picuris. If you have any suggestions for us, we welcome your input, please email m@matikawilbur.com with details. Make Movies With Us! We are incredibly excited to tell you about our new Project 562 film series and invite you to be apart of it. We are seeking 12 filmmakers to join Matika on the road throughout 2015 (one filmmaker for every month). For the last year, Deidre Peaches of Paper Rocket productions (and the creator of our Kickstarter film) has been accompanying Matika on the road to document the daily doings of Project 562 with the intention of eventually creating a full length documentary.  The time that Peaches and Matika have spent together on the road has been truly incredible, but alas, Peaches needs to get back to her office to begin the editing process... which means that we now have space to invite filmmakers to collaborate with us! Our goal is to create at least three short films per month for our audience to stay up to date about Project 562! If you ...

Seven Christmas Gifts I Cannot Live Without (Of Course They're Native)
A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up

 1. B. Yellowtail's Apsaalooke Nights Sequin DressSparkle is essential for every party this holiday season. It goes on sale on December 16th (B.Yellowtail's Birthday); like her facebook page to get a special invite to her release party https://www.facebook.com/byellowtaildesigns. 2. Anything Beyond BucksckinBeyond Buckskin is my one stop shop for everything fabulous this year. The mission of the Beyond Buckskin Boutique is "to create a substantial movement of Native American representation in the fashion industry and to bring greater recognition to Native-made fashion. We are creating a much-needed platform where emerging and established artists can bring their work to new audiences. The fashion industry is one of the hardest fields to break into, regardless of your background. Through this boutique, we create a space to bring Native American-made fashion to the forefront and to demonstrate that ‘Native fashion’ and ‘Native style’ is more than just a trend.” - Beyond Buckskinhttp://shop.beyondbuckskin.com/products 3. Louie Gong’s Inspired Native Phone BlingEighth Generation cases are made with real wood and playfully designed to the shape of your phone by Louie Gong (Nooksack) and the Inspired Natives Project collaborators.  We know you will look good when you protect your phone with a wood case ...