Getting better bit by bit with the help of Wendy Red Star

I'm trying to educate myself.

It's easy to think that I've arrived. I have finally made it. I'm learning about my privilege as a white person, and I'm doing my best to do better. In a lot of ways, I can see progress, but in others... well, it's humbling, and that's the way it should be. For example, when I think of people of color, up until recently for some obscure, culturally biased reasons, I hadn't been thinking of Native Americans. Standing Rock's opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline has begun to chip away at the cultural erasure of Native Americans in the United States in a way that white people haven't acknowledged before. They are amplifying the voices of those who have been intentionally silenced throughout history.

Wendy Red Star's Spring - Four Seasons, 2006

A couple of years ago I first learned about Wendy Red Star from volunteering at the Portland Art Museum with the curator of Northwest art . Although I learned about many amazing artists through my volunteer position, Wendy Red Star is the one I keep thinking about. I continue to visit her website to look again at her previous work; I am always excited to see her new work. She was the first to chip away at the cultural erasure my brain has been accustomed to, and her art has helped me to articulate the thoughts and feelings I have toward Native Americans and the white appropriation I've grown up with. I'm not just grateful that their voices are being heard, but that their platforms have gotten me to listen.

Contemporary Native Photographers and the Edward S. Curtis Legacy Preview


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