We released these pictures in our personal circles on 4th of July, a day celebrating the Declaration of Independence, which refers to us as “... the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.”
We are merciless goddesses, those who navigate what it means to be “savage” with indigenous elegance and native dignity. Indigenous womyn, two-spirits, and people do this on the daily, navigating colonial holidays and colonial institutions.
As Native womyn with strong cultural identities attending college, we often express ourselves through what we wear. This is an old, old practice. Now, living under systems that selectively see us, either as absent, romanticized, or primitive, we take every opportunity we can to protect ourselves, educate others, and show our cultural pride with our clothing.
Our clothing combines old teachings brought with us from our past with skills and styles we have picked up along the way to the present. As we wear this clothing and jewelry in the present moment, we defy the idea that traditional and contemporary are binary concepts. We push back on the idea that our past is at odds with our future, that we were somehow left behind decades ago and no longer exist in all of our gorgeous energy. We are the past, present, and future.
-Photographer and Model of Shoot, Mia Ritter-Whittle, Caddo & Delaware Nations of Oklahoma, Stanford University (Ohlone Territory)
“Savage” shirt - Section 35
“Native Americans Discovered Columbus” shirt - OXDX
“We are Here to Protect, Water is Life” patch - Found at Standing Rock outside women’s tipi at Rosebud Camp. Created at the screenprinting workshops but creator unknown.
“The Warriors” Jacket - NTVS x SPJ
“Water Protector” patch - L. Frank Manriquez
“Land is Life. Indigenous Rights. Human Rights” - Ugat Clothing