When I first began researching my history, my aunt described me as an apple: red on the outside, white on the inside. Hierarchies of blood quantum and internalized racism have long plagued Native communities. The Lakota word for mixed-blood, iyeska, gave me a clearer concept of what it means to be part-Native; it is a gift to walk between the red and white worlds, and a responsibility to communicate between the two.
As modern Native Americans, we are a true minority. We are, many of us, working within the same society that crippled the foundation of our history. We are working jobs at non-Native owned businesses; we are raising our children in public schools. We are working to preserve our ceremonies, powwows and languages. We are people of color both corralled and wandering, searching for a medium between using smartphones and learning traditional beadwork, between our office jobs and visiting ancestral dancing grounds, alternating feelings of alienation and overwhelming pride as we recognize ourselves as set apart. Apple is an exploration into both my own history, and that of an ever-marginalized culture that is fighting to keep itself alive.
Final edit-in of my thesis, an image of my grandmother from last Spring, and my somewhat final artist statement for the project. View the entire pool of images here.