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HIDDEN VOICES: Native Peoples

Savannah Jacket, Towaoc, "Grandma" digital print

Savannah Jacket, Towaoc, “Grandma” digital print


It is almost impossible to function on a daily basis without being influenced by the photographic image. Photographs are how we communicate and how we remember. We are both motivated by and manipulated by photographs. Photography is an essential form of communication and interaction in modern society, as well as a ubiquitous medium.

Historically, photography has been used as a medium to lend a voice to underrepresented populations. There is also incredible potential within the genre for an individual to become a poet, to invoke change, inspire movements or to inform. This project was started to allow the Native American youth on reservations, in and around Utah, to learn the power of a photograph, and to show the world what was important to them.

Photography students and faculty from Utah Valley University were asked to help the high school students begin to develop their own photographic language. We wanted to be respectful guests that were there to give and not take. We wanted to learn and not dictate. We wanted to unlearn and then relearn our histories, but from a different perspective.

Most of the photographs you see here are a snapshot of Native American youth today. As we look, we allow ourselves the opportunity to ask questions. What did they find interesting? What was important enough for them to share with us? What do these photographs say to you?

This collaboration includes Utah Valley University’s Native American Initiative, Multicultural Student Services, Art & Visual Communication’s Photography area, and Woodbury Art Museum. “Paid for in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.”

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2017-2018 Traveling Schedule

North Sanpete High School, Mount Pleasant, Oct 24 – Nov 21