The way in which Indigenous identities are understood has been rooted in the projections and definitions that have been put upon them by colonizing forces throughout history. There are plenty of stereotypes that have been written into the narrative of non-Indigenous communities that victimize, infantilize, or even romanticize Indigenous culture and peoples.
Now, Native and Indigenous peoples are taking matters into their own hands and are using online platforms like TikTok and Instagram to combat the degrading and offensive ideas that have been circulated about Indigenous identity for generations.
One of the resources that elevate Indigenous voices and demonstrates the way they identify and experience their lives and culture is the online gallery dubbed Indigenous Photograph. The site began in 2018 as Natives Photograph, a database of Indigenous visual storytellers from across the Americas. It was relaunched as Indigenous Photograph, and functions as a platform for Indigenous photographers to showcase their distinct work and perspectives, as well as a resource for those who wish to hire creators more inclusively.
The site has expanded to not only include voices from the Americas but has morphed into a constantly growing global community of photographers and visual storytellers who hope to bring balance to the way stories are told about Indigenous people worldwide.
From shots of protestors demonstrating against the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota, to the post-dinner relaxation of a Dusun family in Malaysia, perusing the gallery will give you insights into the varied and multifaceted lifestyles of the Indigenous around the globe, and perhaps challenge the stereotypes that you may hold in your own mind.
Source Image: Kari Rowe/Indigenous Photograph