My work critically analyzes the state of North American indigenous affairs by visually expressing my personal stories through printmaking and installation mediums. In accordance with my traditional upbringing, I am Jicarilla Apache and Choctaw following my mother and Navajo following my father. I carry the ancestral blood and spirituality bestowed upon me from our deities of our cultures. They are me, and I am my children. Living in a larger society outside of my community constantly challenges these teachings and, every so often, I am reminded to shed colonized ideologies and reclaim my Abaachi/Diné identity.
Historically, my ancestors created utilitarian objects as a means for survival—they wove rugs for clothing and baskets for storage. I use these ancient practices by printing photographs of my homelands and tribal documents onto copy paper, shred them into long thin strips, and weave these strands together into a textile. This fabric-like texture of indigenous landscapes and doctrines reclaim a present-day camping object originally meant for hobbyist transportability—a mode of nomadic living that is traditional to my people. In doing so, I subtract consumerism from familiar large-scale objects and add concept driven elements that are developed for Native American viewers. If you know, you know. And if you do not, then that’s okay, there are still other perspectives at work to engage you into our conversation.
Today, American society relies on digital platforms as a means of survival, which is a huge shift away from handcrafted objects. Staying within my realm of identity storytelling, I’ve adapted to this coded landscape by constructing themes of censorship, rejection, and reclamation of privacy. Inspired by true events about social media influencers, I publicly share photos of my children but withhold their bodily imagery and stitch-in Victorian floriography. If you know the language of flowers, then you know the underlining message of emotions associated within these works. Instead of looking into the past to reference my ongoing present, I begin analyzing what is happening in the present that will shape the future. I am my parents, and so, too, will my children become me.