Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America

Ten Speed. Apr. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9781984859525. $50. PHOTOG
In 2012, social documentarian and photographer Wilbur initiated this project to photograph people from all 562 federally recognized Tribal Nations in North America. (Since then, the number of federally recognized Tribes has grown to 574. Wilbur also went beyond the original 562 by visiting state-recognized Tribes, urban Indians, international Tribes, and Tribes who have not been recognized by Congress.) The results of Wilbur’s travels across Turtle Island (an Indigenous name for North America) are beautifully presented here as portraits of Indigenous people, alongside interviews. There are also spotlight essays on topics such as Standing Rock and the annual Canoe Journey in the Coast Salish Sea. In Wilbur’s interviews, focusing on Indigenous identity, interview subjects address being able to more fully and accurately express themselves in the language of their Tribe and language-learning as a key aspect of understanding their Tribe. Returning to the lands of one’s Tribe (even if only for a visit) is also described as essential; notably, many of the photographs depict the subjects outside, often in their ancestral lands. The result is a unique portrait of Indigeneity in North America.
VERDICT An essential purchase for all libraries; as the people and places pictured here span Turtle Island, the book will be relevant to patrons everywhere.
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