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Building Cultural Bridges: Project 562 Uses Art to Transform the Future of Education

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Project 562 by Matika Wilbur

Check out a sneak peek of our September Issue’s feature on Matika Wilbur, Indigenous photographer and activist who created Project 562 — a photojournalism project to capture portraits of Indigenous tribe members within the more than 562 sovereign Native American territories of the United States. Wilbur hopes this project will change the way children learn about Indigenous culture and history in school.

“We decided that we should visit all the tribes and put together a curricula because it needed to be done,” Wilbur explains. “That’s why I sold everything and hit the road [for this project]. I believe genuinely that until we change the narrative and include Indigenous people in popular culture or Western culture or public curriculum — until that happens, we are going to see the same results with our children, and we want that to change.” Some of the results Wilbur refers to are the suicide and incarceration rates in Native communities; the ways in which groups are represented have a tremendous effect on how they see themselves and how society perceives them. Representation matters.

“At the core of Project 562 is an effort to create — yes, a series of photo books — but also to create a public curricula we can use and distribute in public schools around the country,” Wilbur told us.

If you want to see more than a sneak peek of Wilbur’s work, hit the subscribe button and purchase this year’s Art Issue!

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