Ya’at’eeh shike’ doo shidine’e shi ei Remy yinishye. This is a message to the people.
If you see or hear goodness from me, then that goodness is from The Creator. I’m not the architect of that, I’m only the recipient. If you see weakness or shortcoming in me, it’s from my own weakness or shortcoming and I ask The Creator and the people to forgive me for that….
This a brief tutorial utilizing street art techniques to create fast, high quality protest art with a few materials around school, home or the office for Indigenous People’s Day. Prints of these different tribes can also be made into stencils to mass produce these designs in rapid guerrilla art fashion.
The concept of this process came from art that was developed for the Save Oak Flat campaign in Washington DC (http://bit.ly/OakFlatDC). I would like to give them a special shoutout for allowing me and others to create art on behalf of their community. Much love to all members of the Apache Stronghold who’s sacred land is currently under threat from the mining operations of Resolution Copper who could begin literally drilling at any moment now (http://bit.ly/OakFlatFB).
These shields were inspired by Lozen, a skilled warrior and a prophetess of the Apache, who are a world renown Indigenous warrior society. She was the sister of Victorio, a prominent Apache chief. According to legends, Lozen was able to use her powers in battle to learn the movements of the enemy. Victorio said, “Lozen is my right hand … strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people”. Since the government does not understand our words “sacred” and “holy”, we must talk in the language and symbols of the oppressor in order for them to understand us so these “Lozen shields” were created to reclaim Indigenous heritage in defense of our land, community and culture.
The language in some of these designs is very blatant and is intended to speak truth to the powers that temporarily be. Assuming we want to move forward together towards collective liberation, we must first have an understanding of the genocidal history of this occupied land in which over 500+ tribes and 100-140 million Indigenous people were murdered for. No matter where you live in this country you must understand you are on traditional tribal land that was stolen from us.
This art project is a small step towards the education of whose tribal land we are currently on which has been erased from this country’s history along with its Indigenous inhabitants. I challenge those who consider otherwise to search where their source of discomfort lies and more often than not, it can probably be traced back to lack of education in terms of history. This lack of education is a dangerous path and is evident in terms of who is in office currently but this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had a racist in office. If you disagree I also challenge you to educate yourselves on the policies of the president and self-proclaimed “Indian Killer” Andrew Jackson.
Of course this list of Indigenous tribes is incomplete due to the number of us that still fight for recognition due to the genocidal policies of explorers, slave traders, founding fathers and now corporations. This is a massive undertaking and I humbly approach this as a huge learning experience in terms of erasure and I will make many mistakes, spelling and otherwise along the way to create art for every tribe and community still under threat of extinction on this continent.
If you don’t know an Indigenous person whose land you are on, here are a couple of resources to help you learn which tribal land you are occupying:
• https://native-land.ca – comprehensive map of Indigenous land
• http://www.native-languages.org – breakdown of states with contact information for tribes
• https://wikipedia.org – searches of most cities will document some history of Indigenous inhabitation
To include your tribe in this project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org so a custom art piece can be created for your tribe and community. Please keep in mind, there will be limitations in terms of the white space versus letters so space is limited in terms of actual visibility and readability.
PS. Alaska, please bear with me, this is a labor of love and y’all have 200+ tribes so I’m going as fast as I can 🙂
Click The Links Below