A diorama at old mission state park depicting catholicism’s arrival in idaho. while jesuit missionaries did first come to the area at the invitation of a delegation from the flathead + nez perce reservations (in part because they associated the church with military power), local native communities were perhaps not as quick to embrace the accompanying faith system as these clay figurines might suggest.
The interior of the chilocco indian school, which operated in northern oklahoma from 1884-1980. it was one of five off-reservation boarding schools authorized by congress in 1882 — the others were carlisle (pa), haskell (ks), chemawa (or), and fort simcoe (wa). the campus is still largely intact and is now managed by 5 local tribes (the kaw nation, otoe-missouria tribe, pawnee nation, ponca nation, and tonkawa tribe). in the past few years, it’s been used for federal law enforcement training, as a substance abuse rehab center, and briefly was considered for homeland security biochemical attack testing, though that plan was later abandoned after widespread protests. #signsofyouridentity @signsofyouridentity
The remains of st. mary’s mission on the colville reservation. the building is slowly beginning to decay — most of the windows have been broken and the wooden doors are rotting. but the classrooms are still filled with old projectors, textbooks, past assignments, and other signs of student life. graduates of st. mary’s were included in a $166m settlement in 2011 (one of the largest in the roman catholic church’s history) for 450 native american and alaska native former students who were abused at jesuit mission schools throughout the northwest. none of the accused priests have been charged or otherwise held legally accountable. @signsofyouridentity
This is clarita vargas, a member of the colville tribe who attended st. mary’s mission from 1968-1974. we spoke for about two hours in a little park on the columbia river until i realized the sun had almost disappeared and i asked if we could take a brief break so i could photograph her. i set up my backdrop and she sat for me, continuing to talk the entire time, memories spilling out of her in rapid succession while i photographed her in the pauses between stories. so — this photo feels a touch misleading, not a full representation of her energy or belly laugh or wicked sense of humor — but i’m not sure a still image could do her justice. #signsofyouridentity
A wooden carving of father pierre-jean de smet, a jesuit priest who purportedly travelled 180,000 miles across north america establishing missions in native territories. this particular statue resides at st. mary’s mission in stevensville — the first european settlement in present day montana. @signsofyouridentity
Up above the grand canyon.
Little bits of beauty in the arizona desert.
Unsure which i love more — my motel room bedspread or the complimentary copy of “super chevy” from 1982.
Extremely honored to have been able to speak with this father-daughter professor duo — jonathan kay kamakawiwo’ole osorio and jamaica heolimeleikalani osorio — about hawaiian education, sovereignty, and radicalism. i came to hawai’i intending to continue my work on @signsofyouridentity by looking at the criminalization of the hawaiian language in secondary schools and how that kind of coercive assimilation was still felt today. instead, i met a dozen or so hawaiian educators, parents, millennials, and current high school students who taught me about the hawaiian renaissance and the movement for educational autonomy through language immersion and land-based charter schools. “we believe that our language has a lot to teach people — not just ourselves, but everyone — and that there’s value there for everyone in whatever work they’re doing,” heoli said. “but don’t just translate things into hawaiian to appease us. transform the way you operate based off of a hawaiian understanding of place and politics and power and justice. if you’re not on board for the political side of hawaiian, then you’re not on board for hawaiian.” #signsofyouridentity #hawaii @insidenatgeo @opensocietyfoundations
Hawaiian cultural practitioner lani yamasaki crouches at the base of a blue marble tree on the grounds of the lyon arboretum, where she spent much of her time in grad school growing her knowledge of hawaii’s native flora. (the blue marble tree is not endemic to hawaii, but it is very beautiful and the seeds are used as prayer beads in some hindu sects.)