Native American artists and storytellers are beginning to bend new tools and technology to Our cultural needs.
Throughout history we would adopt new / emerging technological advances – such as glass beads and German silver in place of natural quills and abalone shell adornments – and infuse the medium with our particular cultural values, information, meaning. Similarly, Indigenous people are now using digital media (such as 2d and 3d animation) to tell our stories.
An article in Native Peoples Magazine by Kade L. Twist (Cherokee), “brave new worlds – Indigenous Animation Movement Rising,” outlines this phenomenon. In the article, Twist mentions several Indigenous digital artists including, Joseph Erb (Cherokee), Nathan Young (Pawnee/Delaware/Kiowa), Roy Boney, Jr. (Cherokee), Wathene Young (Cherokee/Delaware), Matt Mason (Cherokee), Anthony Deiter (Plains Cree/Ojibwe), and Joseph Lazare (Mohawk).
(On an unrelated note: this list seems rather Cherokee-heavy, doesn’t it?…where are the Caddo digital artists? Oh wait…I’m right here. Heh.)
It is not only refreshing, but vastly and personally rewarding, to see other Natives working in a similar medium (digital art / media).
The Native Peoples article also mentions the Oneida Nation’s Four Directions Media, which operates Four Directions Productions (4DP) and Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) as bigger, power-house contributors within the digital realm.
This is exactly what we need more of: Indigenous people creating Indigenous content especially in digital media. Just like me, these individuals are working hard to make this a reality and we can use all the support we can get. That’s why it’s good to see an article that celebrates this work.