50 Faces of Indian Country 2016 IV
In 2015 ICTMN introduced the 50 Faces of Indian Country magazine to celebrate the wealth of talented American Indians across Indian country. Last month the second annual issue, 50 Faces of Indian Country 2016, was published to highlight once again the work of a new crop of accomplished individuals and role models—including actors, leaders, and activists—who can offer inspiration to Native youth on a daily basis.
After all, what’s more uplifting than enjoying the positive contributions being made by some of the most talented people on the planet?
Below are the second 10 from 2016’s 50 Faces.
See the full magazine here.
The Art Activist: Bunky Echo-Hawk
Bunky Echo-Hawk, Pawnee and Yakama, is an activist and artist, a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and co-founder of NVision, a nonprofit focusing on Native American youth through the arts. His work focuses largely on appropriation and sports mascots. It has tackled teams such as the baseball’s Cleveland Indians and the Washington, D.C. NFL team. His work often uses purposefully shocking imagery, such as his “Honor YOU” painting, which shows Apache leader Geronimo defiantly showing the viewer both his middle fingers, with the racist mascots of the Cleveland team painted on one hand, and that of the NFL team on the other hand. “I try to use my art to shed light on injustices in Indian country, both historical and contemporary, in hopes that it helps inspire people to take action,” Echo-Hawk said. “It’s incredibly humbling to be included in this group of people whose work has done so much for Indian country.” Echo-Hawk’s work is regularly featured in exhibitions around the country, most recently Native Pop! in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Find out more at bunkyechohawk.com. – S.L-R
The Mohawk Warrior: Beverly Cook
Beverly Cook (Wolf Clan) is a Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council Chief, and one of three Chiefs who serve the Akwesasne Mohawk community in northern New York State. She says her activism began after graduating from nursing school in 1974. “I participated in the occupation of an abandoned girls camp, which resulted in the establishment of Ganienkeh in Altona, New York. I took part in the Longest Walk in 1978, and the barricaded encampment at Raquette Point in Akwesasne (1979 to 1982). I worked with others to establish a volunteer rescue squad after the nearby town withdrew emergency services to our reservation. A group of us were trained as EMT’s and I became an EMT instructor. In 1975, I was one of the first founding parents of the Akwesasne Freedom School.”
Before becoming a chief, Cook worked at the Saint Regis Mohawk Health Services Clinic as an RN, Clinic Coordinator and Family Nurse Practitioner for 30 years. “Taking on a leadership position has given me the opportunity to advocate for change in the old paradigms of service delivery; to help support community based movements that include culture and endeavor to guide adolescents through puberty rites or adults through recovery or moms through their pregnancies,” she says, adding that it is an honor to be recognized in 50 Faces of Indian Country. “I’m flattered to be selected for this but I feel others have done so much more.”
The Award Winner: Louise Erdrich
When she is not busy writing award-winning novels, poetry, children’s books, short stories or all manner of other works, Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, is helping oversee Birchbark Books. That’s the Minnesota bookstore she co-owns with her sister, Heid Erdrich, with whom she also founded the Ojibwe-language Wiigwaas Press. The author of 15 novels, Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award in 2012 for Fiction for The Round House, and her latest novel, La Rose, has been highly acclaimed. Erdrich was receiving awards right out of the gate, with her first novel, Love Medicine, garnering the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984. She has also been awarded the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, among others. On being selected for the 50 Faces of Indian Country, she tells ICTMN, “I am very honored.”
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