I am a Diné multimedia documentarian from the Navajo Reservation. My art documents people, cultures and environments through still images, short film, video poems and essays in a unique, and distinctive creative style of digital storytelling. I utilize different media to tell Native American stories in the multifaceted ways they deserve to be told, in contrast to historically narrow depictions. I call my work “Indigenous Realism” as it often situates contemporary Native narratives in a nostalgic historical environment that allows history to be retold through the participation of Native American in a modern context. My overall work pushes viewers to critically analyze the psychological and historical structures of Native Americans in mass media.
Legacy of Exiled NDNZ discusses the historical US policies of relocation of Indians to urban establishment and the legacy it has created to today. It provides a narrative of seven native adults currently living in Los Angeles. Shot in a neorealist visual aesthetic reminiscent of Kent Mackenzie’s 1961 film, The Exiles, we catch a glimpse of the group of urban Indians living their hopes and dreams in the city. Spencer Battiest (Seminole/Choctaw), Vivian Garcia (Cherokee), Tony Moran (Navajo), Courtney Alex (Navajo), Gladys Dakam (Lakota), Heather Singer (Navajo) and Kenneth Ramos (Barona band of mission Indians).
Real NDNZ Re-Take Hollywood showcases native adults in photographs to disrupt and decolonize clichéd portrayals of Native actors. The series “re-takes” and creates classic, iconic portraits of movies stars of yesteryears by replacing those past film icons with contemporary Native American actors. The project shows real Indian actors in the elegant clothes and iconic poses of James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Tony Curtis and others from the classic period of Hollywood films – rather than in the buckskin, feathers, and painted faces featured in most Hollywood films of Indians. JaNae Collins (Crow/Dakota), Noah Watts (Blackfeet/Crow), Shayna Jackson (Cree/Dakota), Deja Jones (Eastern Shoshone), Krista Hazelwood (Seminole), Kholan Studi (Cherokee), Brian Vallie (Crow).
Two Video Poems by Pamela J. Peters