Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

San Francisco hosts the largest Two Spirit pow wow in the nation, a really special event open to all nations, embodying and teaching the spirit of inclusion. Two Spirit people have always played an important role in Native American communities, and although that role may have been confused or lost through the discourse of assimilation, we are now seeing a tremendous resurrection and celebration of two-spirit culture. The term ‘Two Spirit’ is a kind of pan-Native term used to describe gender fluidity, a variance from traditional masculine or feminine physicality and performance, or, more broadly, queerness. It’s also been described to me as “American Indians who ...

Project Update (Just In Case You Missed the Best of 2016)
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

What Up 2017 With 2017 well underway, we at Project 562 would like to raise our hands to all of our friends, relatives, and ardent supporters who made the past year possible! And what an extraordinary, startling, and unbelievable year it was. Never have we felt a higher and stronger need for light, love and positivity, and never have we felt more committed to our work. It is indeed the work that serves as the greatest driving force, an energy that is self-renewing and inexhaustible. We are so proud of Project 562’s journeys and activities in 2016; here’s a recap of some of our most memorable moments: We stood in solidarity with our Hunkpapa relatives at Standing ...

Indigenous Women Rise in Eureka, CA

On January 21, 2017, we were proud to be in Eureka as indigenous women marched alongside five-fingered-beings from every background. We stand for our Mother Earth. We stand for equality to show this new administration that we will not go quietly into the wind. Our treaty rights need to be upheld, sovereignty respected, and justice restored. At the end of the march the indigenous women gathered on the lawn, held hands in a circle and prayed for our communities to come together in a good way: 

A Thanksgiving Message from Seven Amazing Native Americans
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

November is Native American Heritage month. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This month is supposedly for our nation to acknowledge indigenous history, tradition, and knowledge. We are supposed to honor the indigenous land upon which we live; we are meant to celebrate peace between nations and cultures. But the real truth is that we are not in a time of peace and “Thanksgiving” is a historical fallacy. I asked seven rad Natives (who have been photographed by Project 562) to share perspectives on Thanksgiving and the current state of our nation. I appreciate their willingness to be honest, to share their knowledge, and all that they do for our communities. Dr. Adrienne Keen, ...

Students Pledge To Protect Each Other Post Trump
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

“Hi!” His greeting was warm but anxious. “Thank you so much for coming to our university this morning, let me show you into our multi-cultural center. Students have gathered here to support one another. We’re sorry to put you in this position, but do you think you could speak with them before you deliver your general speech? They’re pretty upset at what has happened in the election . . .” Surrounded by tall pine trees in glorious Northwest autumn, we stepped through bright orange leaves swirling in the crisp air to join an audience stricken by the vote of the American electoral college. Inside the multi-cultural center we find Cesar Chaves posters ...

You Need to Know Sho Sho
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

Everybody needs some Sho Sho in their life. This otherworldly fashion designer adorns your body in ancestrally timeless haute couture while enriching your spirit in natural wonderment. It's as if her work comes from the dream world, and those of us here on earth can only marvel at its origin as we’re overcome with desire to be enveloped, caressed by its beauty. For real: I’ve seen grown women burst out cooing about her creations just as you’d see an adorable baby taken with something irresistibly attractive and pleasing. You get what I'm trying to tell you: Sho Sho Esquiro is the real deal; her work is dope, and you should know about her, buy her clothing, and ...

Still Native Land: Understanding the Movement at Standing Rock
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

The land being protected at Standing Rock Sioux holds the resting bones of the Sioux, Hidatsa, Mandan, Lakota, Nakota and Dakota people. Wherever our bones rest, our ceremonies live. Our histories and stories are intertwined with our identity, and to us, our native identity is inextricably connected to land. The idea of digging up our ancestors bones for fossil fuel’s dying industry is an utter, shameful disgrace. It’s hard to describe how outrageous such desecration is to people who have lost their own connections to their ancient histories, or to those that don’t feel the vitality, abundance and wonder of land.I’ve heard cyber bullies argue, “Indians think ...

We Are Not Protestors, We Are Protectors: Peace, Prayer, Love and War at Standing Rock Sioux
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

Last week Project 562 arrived at the ancestral territory of the Hunkpapa Oceti, also known as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. We came to stand in solidarity with our relatives, steadfast in their efforts to protect their land from the poisonous black snake called the Dakota Access Pipeline.The expensive 3.9 billion dollar pipeline received its permits from the Army Corps of Engineers on July 25th, 2016. If built, massive volumes of crude oil will wind through the ancient burial and ceremonial grounds of Standing Rock Community, disrupting the culture, water supply, ecology, and safety of its people. Legal action to stop this thoughtless devastation was filed in federal court, ...

Miss Indian Nations Eloquently Helps Us to Understand the Meaning of the Dance
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

Miss Indian Nations 20, Shannon Hooper, Paiute Shoshone from Fallon, Nevada speaks with eloquence and beauty when she explains the significance of the fancy shawl dance for pow wow. Project 562 is grateful to Shannon Hooper and all of the ladies of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Reservation for sharing their message with us. 

See What Happens When We Ask Young Native Americans If Racism Affects Them in America...
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

“What I want to do, I actually want to see an actual racist-free America . . .” Lavin ReedProject 562 recently attended the Bear Dance at the Unitah & Ooray Nation, commonly known as Northern Ute in Utah. While there we collected stories and images from several people in an attempt to understand about the dance that honors the waking of the bear and celebrates the summer solstice. When we interviewed this group of thirteen and fourteen year old dancers, Randal Church, Hunter Ridley, Lavin Reed, Cebron Mountain Lion, and Sequiah Tallbird, we asked them if stereotypes and racism affect their lives. They explained that they despised the term ‘redskin’, but didn't ...

Finding Light & Hope in Paiute Country
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

A few weeks ago, Project 562 journeyed to The Great Basin Desert to learn a few major lessons from the Numu people.We learned to see resilience in the desert; desert flowers and medicines are able to flourish, even in the harshest of environments.Despite the greatest odds, our people have the strength to endure.One person, one love story, one song at a time, our communities can heal, flourish and grow.As the journey continues, we continue to meet inspired carriers of Native culture and identity; and that is who we met in Lovelock Paiute- Patty, Birdman, Helen and a treasure trove of adorable singing Paiute kiddos.Patty and Birdman are the kind of people that greet you in the driveway. They ...

Our Wounds Can Heal
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

I often hear that on the Rez we need to create healing systems to recover from generations of displacement, oppression, and suffering.  We also need systems to withstand ongoing cycles of assault and degradation of all forms. This healing force, this light that disrupts abuse, even historical trauma itself, can enter us through the hugs and nurturing, guidance and protection of healthy, loving parents.  I encountered this undeniable power of family while meeting Miss Autumn and her parents, Norm and Bev Harry at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Norm was the Tribal Chairman for several years.During his time as Chairman, he led his Paiute people in the negotiation for the ...

Exhibition Honoring Native Women Opening at Harvard
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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 ...

Our Students Deserve A Better Narrative
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

 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 ...

A Friendly & Wordy Project 562 Catch-Up
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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 ...

Reconsider Columbus. Honor Indigenous People's Day
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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 ...

NEW EXHIBITION: Natural Wanderment: Stewardship. Sovereignty. Sacredness.
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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: ...

Beyond Vacationland: the Native American Cape Cod Story
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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 ...

The Big O...
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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 ...

Project 562's Summer Update: Crisis and Faith in The Shimmering Waters
Embracing The Spirit of Inclusion: San Francisco's Two Spirit Pow Wow

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 ...