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, but the fear non-the-less exists and this project confronts it by mixing the fear with humor once realized.
Rise was originally 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/