Founded in 2017, Seattle-based yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective launched their inaugural event two years later, in collaboration with the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. Featuring over 200 Indigenous creatives representing over 100 tribal affiliations and Indigenous communities from across the globe, the exhibition included on-site events at King Street Station and off-site through additional programming and publications.
(This article is jointly published between REDEFINE magazine and South Seattle Emerald.)
Khu.éex’ (pronounced koo-eek; “potlatch” in Tlingit) is a 10-piece intergenerational band whose musical style is fluid, with improvisational prowess that allows them to span genres as wide-ranging as funk and hip-hop to jazz and spoken word. With members spread throughout the Seattle region to as far up north as Bellingham and Juneau, Alaska, they are a project with a majority Native membership and a penchant for singing in Tlingit and Haida. Following a sold-out show at High Dive on Indigenous Heritage Day in November, they will be performing a Valentine’s Day show at the Seattle Aquarium.
Reciprocity Project, a series of seven Indigenous-made documentary short films, combines Native American storytelling with climate awareness and other intersectional movements rooted in Indigenous guardianship, social justice, and human rights. The first season of the project debuted on Oct. 10, and it’s already available to stream.
Home to individuals from a number of tribal nations, the Puget Sound region serves as fertile ground for conversations and movements towards Indigenous food sovereignty. While many definitions of food sovereignty exist, the Indian Education Division at the Montana Office of Public Instruction defines it as “the ability of an Indigenous nation or community to control its own food system and food-producing resources free of control or limitations put on it by an outside power (such as a settler/colonizer government).”
Since 2017, Indigenize Productions has been showcasing queer and trans Indigenous joy in different ways, from hosting variety shows to dance parties. Indigenize was founded after a group of Indigenous talents met through a burlesque and variety show called “Dear White People” with an all-BIPOC cast at the University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Theatre.
When Kendra Aguilar was a child, her grandfather gifted her a Chia Pet. But rather than plant the chia seeds as the instructions described, she ate them.
Aguilar, a descendant of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, long told the story as an example of the funny, impulsive things kids do. Then, years later, she shared the memory with a Chumash friend and realized something deeper might be at work.
From before I can remember to the age of 17, I spent many weekends hanging out, cleaning dishes, and flipping frybread at Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, California. My mom grew up at this Native American community center, which meant my sister and I would too.
When I entered the hall one day as a preteen, banners and a solemn mood hung over everyone’s head. Breaking the communal silence, a Diné elder shared a prayer in our language, and then in English. The prayer went to all of us, then extended far past Oakland, and into a secluded cell where the Elder hoped it landed with Leonard Peltier. This wasn’t our usual community dinner and celebration, but a rally for Peltier — a wrongfully imprisoned spirit-warrior.
Every year, salmon journey from the open waters of the North Pacific, pass through estuaries along the coast, and swim upriver to spawn in the freshwater streams and creeks in which they were born. Yet across the western coast of North America, coho salmon are dying in large numbers as they return to urban watersheds. In West Seattle, a team of citizen scientists are surveying salmon to understand how many are affected.
Since 2015, small teams of volunteers have gone out every day in the fall to document returning salmon along a quarter mile stretch of Longfellow Creek.
Learning more of my ancestral language during this pandemic has been a powerful gift. The ability to say I love you in Lushootseed, brings deeper warmth and nourishment to the vastness of love. Indigenous love grows from a place of compassion, an understanding that I concern myself with others, and they concern themselves with me. This week of Thanksgiving I am reflecting on how my liberation, my joy, my health is always tied to yours. We are together, wherever we are.
by Clear Sky Native Youth Leadership Council interns Kayla Harstad, Lailani Norman, Tim Shay, and Akichita Taken Alive
Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.
During Native American Heritage Month, we have a unique opportunity as Native teens to reflect on what the world expects from us and hopes for us. It can be overwhelming and exciting to think about what the future holds and the responsibilities we might take on, but one way we’ve each been able to gain clarity is through our involvement with the Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council, a youth-focused and directed program of the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA). Clear Sky provides opportunities for deepening our connections with our intertribal community, while also affirming our cultural values, worldview, and traditional knowledge systems as well as empowering us to navigate racist colonial systems through advocacy, activism, and action. As individuals, we are teenagers, students, siblings, daughters and sons, and grandchildren as well as neighbors and friends to all in our community. But together, we have joined with our peers to take advantage of lessons in order to build the knowledge we need to stand in our truths as future elders.