I grew up very torn between two cultures never really understanding my identity. When you grow up with two different backgrounds it can be hard for others to understand why it can affect you so much. Now that I am at a stage in my life where I am understanding that I define myself it is a lot easier to talk about. I understand now more than ever that the only true barriers are the ones that exist in your own mind. As an indigenous woman I understand the statistics and I understand the stereotypes. I choose personally to focus on empowering those around me and associating with like-minded individuals. It is more important to me to be an example and to bring light to those indigenous people who are making differences in their communities.
A huge struggle I’ve witnessed throughout my life does not stem from the stereotypes we place on each other, but from what we believe about ourselves. I think that low self-esteem is a huge epidemic in our world. I remember what it was like to be a teenager and not be comfortable in my own skin. What helped me tremendously was associating myself with people who have the results I want in life. I read books that were going to help me with my issues. Where you are going to be in the next five years depends on the top 5 people you associate with and the books you read. So choose wisely.
I started the Indigenous Portrait Project as a way to search through what I knew about my own visual identity. I know that there are all walks of life in Indigenous communities so I feel it’s important for people to challenge what they believe Indigenous means. I’ve asked people in my communities to share their stories and I offer to take a few headshots for my blog. I did not place a deadline on this project and it is on-going. I really hope to open a few minds and help myself on my own journey of self-discovery.