Rise’ reflects upon the ongoing subtle fear of indigenous people in the United States. Fear, in this instance, may come from acknowledging our presence, not as an extinct people, but as sovereign nations who have witnessed and endured the process of colonization for hundreds of years and remain oppressed.

This series reflects upon the inherent fear that one day – oppressed groups may rise and defend themselves. As an indigenous tribal member who has observed the aftermath of colonization and followed my curiosity in the story of survival, especially as a Federally Recognized tribe east of the Mississippi, Rise approaches the concept of a future Native American uprising from a complicated perspective of military and land deed neutrality, cultural assimilation, and as a people hiding in plain sight.

With the rise of the zombie motif in popular culture, the zombie may be interpreted as the great celebratory enemy, replacing the American Indian. Thus, Rise appropriates the aesthetic and concept of zombie apocalypse by replacing the gory zombie figure with the American Indian, whose simple presence causes terror.

The images reflect an interpretation of an imagined future uprising based on the aftermath of colonization, steeped in both the popular imagination of non-indigenous people and the repressed desires of Native Communities to one day retake their territory. In the end, my personal belief is that Americans and Native Americans will never have another great war. Still, the fear exists, and this project confronts it by mixing it with humor once realized.

Rise was initially conceived after reading a lecture transcription by MIT Professor Noam Chomsky found here: https://www.rawstory.com/2014/02/noam-chomsky-zombies-are-the-new-indians-and-slaves-in-white-americas-collective-nightmare/

In essence, Noam Chomsky views the cultural preoccupation with zombies in the United States as a reflection of fear and desperation within the country. He suggests that this fear has historical roots, dating back to the colonial period when Native Americans were portrayed as a “terrible, awesome enemy” threatening destruction. Chomsky points out that this portrayal of Native Americans as savage enemies served to justify colonial expansion and oppression. He extends this analysis to other oppressed groups throughout American history, such as enslaved peoples and immigrants, who have been similarly depicted as existential threats to American society. Chomsky argues that this fear is often irrational but is fueled by a recognition, on some level, that oppression breeds resistance. Thus, the cultural obsession with zombies may serve as a metaphor for the fear of retaliation from those who are oppressed.