Indigenous Arts Are So Hot Right Now

When people think about Native Americans, they often think about the historical image. They imagine the Natives in Western movies, people living in teepees and hunting buffalo. Many Americans think of Native Americans as a people of the past. Indigenous people have been working hard to change this narrative for more than a century with limited success. Using social media many Native artists have been able to take back their stories and present them in a modern and authentic way.

These Indigenous artists and organizations are changing the way people see Native Americans and highlight their authentic experiences.

NDN Girls Book Club, opens a new window – An organization that puts Native books in the hands of NDN girls, opens a new window.

NDN Girls Book Club is an organization that promotes reading and writing for Native Youth. They host writing workshops, give away tons of free books to Native people and tribal libraries as well as work with Indigenous authors to inspire Native girls. They champion Indigenous Literature and Art in Native communities and make cute merch.

Reservation Dogs (a.k.a. Rez Dogs), opens a new window – An entertaining yet authentic look at Reservation life.

Sterlin Harjo made his start with a comedy group called the 1492s. They had success with YouTube videos, live shows and other performances. Riding that success, Sterlin and many members of the 1492s came together to write, produce and create the hit television show Reservations Dogs, opens a new window. The show touts a cast and crew comprised of mostly Indigenous people. The show itself is the story of four Native youths coming-of-age on a reservation in Oklahoma with equal parts comedy, drama and that authentic Native American experience. 

Notorious Cree, opens a new window – Indigenous influencer bringing powwow dances to the masses.

Notorious Cree is the Instagram and TikTok handle of James Jones, who is a social media influencer and an accomplished hoop dancer. He uses his platform to highlight powwow dances and to teach non-natives about Native culture and traditions. He often uses various types of dance or comedic skits in his videos.

Quannah Chasinghorse, opens a new window – A model who uses her fame to promote Native issues.

Quannah Chasinghorse (Hän Gwich'in of Alaska and Sicangu-Oglala Lakota from South Dakota) is a fashion model and activist whose recent rise to fame has shed light on many Native issues and climate change. Her facial tattoos, own as Yidiiltoo, are traditional for women in many Indigenous Alaskan and Canadian communities. She champions Indigenous jewelry and fashion designers in many of her looks, most recently at the prestigious Met Gala in 2023. She was named honoree of USA Today’s Women of the Year, opens a new window, graced the cover of National Geographic, opens a new window, became a Victoria’s Secret Angel and has walked the runway for Gucci and others.

All My Relations podcast, opens a new window – Exploring what it means to be a contemporary Indigenous person 

All My Relations is a podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation). They discuss an array of topics in terms of relationships. Wilbur and Keene explain that relationships can mean many things, relationships between people, nature, policies or anything in between. Their podcast has covered deep and personal issues, as well as light and comedic topics. If you are looking to find out what’s happening in Indian country, All My Relations is a good place to start.

The Halluci Nation , opens a new window– Melding Native drum beats with electronic sounds to bring Indigenous music to the next level.

Music has always been a big part of so many Indigenous cultures, the band Halluci Nation has used those traditional sounds to create a new form of electronic music. The band started out with the name A Tribe Called Red, before reinventing themselves as The Halluci Nation as their music and mission have changed. They have played concerts and festivals around the world, often bringing powwow dancers to brighten up their stage. 

Heartdrum Imprint , opens a new window– Publishing Native stories for tweens and teens by Indigenous authors 

Heartdrum Imprint is a division of HarperCollins Publishers that focuses on publishing Indigenous stories by Native authors for tweens and teens. While the books are written by Indigenous authors, the stories are published for a broad audience and provide educator resources.

Choke Cherry Creek, opens a new window – Bringing traditional styles and patterns to the runaway.

Choke Cherry Creek is a clothing design company that creates fashion designs based on traditional Apsáalooke designs and patterns. The company was founded by Angela Howe-Parrish, an Apsáalooke from Montana, whose designs have been seen on runaways in New York and Paris. She uses primarily Indigenous models to showcase her unique designs.

Looking for more ways to support Indigenous creators? Check out some of our recommendations.

Fiction by Indigenous Authors

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