Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

I am incredibly excited to announce that I will be opening a new Project 562 exhibtion on my birthday this month, at Harvard University, and I’d love for you to celebrate with me! Thursday, April 28, 2016, at 5 PMKnafel Center, 10 Garden StreetRadcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA At the opening, I’ll give remarks, and a gathering will follow in the exhibition space with the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP), Radcliffe fellows, Harvard faculty and staff, and members of the arts community at Harvard and beyond.RSVP: ventures@radcliffe.harvard.edu or 617-384-6742 Here’s from the press about the show:  Matika Wilbur, an acclaimed photographer from the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes (Washington), is the creator and director of Project 562 and the only Native American photographer and social documentarian to be welcomed into each of the 562+ Native American sovereign territories in the United States. For the past three years, Wilbur has collaborated with scores of tribes to share the images and truths of Native American peoples. Wilbur’s exhibition at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University—Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women—provides remarkable insights into contemporary Native American women. Wilbur has curated the striking ...

Our Students Deserve A Better Narrative
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

 A few weeks ago I was invited into my longtime friend Miss. Ervanna Little-Eagle’s classroom to present Project 562's message with the delightful Native students of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Their beautiful smiling faces and extraordinary enthusiasm for Project 562 shook my soul and stretched my heart strings to new lengths. They actually made me feel like a photography rockstar… they had consumed all of Project 562's blog posts, photos, and films and they literally jumped up and down with glee when I walked into their classroom. It was adorable. They also reminded me why this work is sooooooo important, inspiring refreshed insights and realizations...I've come to the conclusion that "the narrative" shapes our consciousness. Our consciousness determines how we will treat each other.  The current narrative concerning Native America reinforces colonial perspectives that erase indigenous realities. That means that racism is born from the narrative which begins in early childhood development.Take for instance the current "everyday" experience happening in the hands of our children: This hollywood delusion is completely opposite to the living reality inside the native classroom at Warm Springs:   Looking around Miss Little Eagle's class I was so inspired - books by Silko, Alexie, King and Erdrich lined the shelves; posters ...

A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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.
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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...
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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
Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard

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 ...