Indigenous Heritage Month
Written by: Sabrina Cabrera Rivera
Until Columbus, the Americas were populated with a variety of tribal groups throughout both North and South of the continents. Several dozens of these tribes held their own individual cultures that can be identified by age, location, and specific technologies. Before Christopher Columbus came to the Americas, bringing along his fellow Europeans and African slaves to the land while committing heinous acts as he ‘discovered’ the new world, there lived the indigenous people who had occupied this American lands for at least 20,000 years.
Though the terms Native American and Indian are relative, the United states is a nation of immigrants and descendents of slaves, who have overwhelmed the indigenous population. Less than 2% of the current population are able to define themselves as Native American, which means that 98% of Americans are unable to trace their root, genetic or otherwise, beyond 500 years on American soil. Unique and beautiful cultures were erased from history due to the discovery of these continents.
As we get closer to the holiday season, we want to celebrate and bring awareness to our ingenuous friends and family. Since the best things come in threes, here are three categories of books, businesses, and artists.
Launched in 2009 by Jessica Metcalfe. Based out of North Dakota, Beyond Buckskin is dedicated to advancing small businesses located throughout rural and urban communities by providing an online store where customers can connect with Native American fashion designers and jewelry artists. They provide men and women’s apparel, accessories, moccasins, and home decor.
This is an indigenous owned design shop founded by siblings Rico and Crystal Worl. Their goal was to promote innovative indigenous design.They wanted to represent a way for traditionally rooted people to find themselves in modern fashion. Their main focus being on Northwest Coast art and exploring themes within Native culture. They strive to provide products which can act as cultural objects and create products that non-natives can wear and appreciate without appropriating the culture.
They provide apparel, stationary products, and home goods.
Founded by Devon Fiddler, they are committed to employing Indigenous women in the design and manufacturing of their goods. They want to involve Indigenous communities and customers into their design process and share their experiences of local, national, and international Indigenous women. They provide a variety of women’s apparel for their clients.
“MIKTLANZIWATL” (LADY OF DEATH)
A contemporary fine art photographer. Romero is an enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, CA and Houston, TX. Romero’s photography shows her identity as she blends fine art and editorial photography, which is shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences from a Native American female perspective.
Photo of Lila Downs by Cynthia Vásquez
Born in Oaxaca, Mexico. She is the daughter of Mixtec singer Anita Sanchez and Allen Downs, a Scottish-American art professor and filmmaker. She grew up in Oaxaca, California, and Minnesota. Downs performs her own compositions as well as tapping into Mexican traditional and popular music. She also incorporates indigenous mexican influences and has recorded songs in indigenous languages such as mixtec, zapotec, maya, nahuatl and purepecha.
Written by Kali Fajarado-Anstine, the novel focuses on Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West. It is a haunting collection of stories about a friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.
We know how important it is to share the work of Indigenous people. We wanted to take the time to recognize them and do what we can to help support them in any way possible - Kyra Rosa, Founder of MIJA