More Than Art: Indigenous Relationality and Futures

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times?”

Bertolt Brecht

Countless people throughout the history of organizing have emphasized the importance of creating art within movements. This art not only allows for us to connect with each other, but also shows us the types of worlds that we are reimagining. This post highlights the work that Indigenous artists are producing throughout the world. Their art shows how their histories, presents, and futures are intertwined with the struggles that they go through. But more than that, their art emphasizes the interconnectedness of all of our struggles. In showing relationality through art, Indigenous artists are showing us how we much imagine our futures together.

Dylan Miner (Métis) is a professor and artist at Michigan State University. His art combines both Métis and Anishinaabe styles with ideas surrounding futurisms and racial relationality. On Miner’s website, you can see his other projects, which includes art surrounding radical education, stolen land, defending DACA, and Black Lives Matter.

This piece titled “Child Hunger Damaged Potential” Robyn Kahukiwa (Māori) interweaves the personal and political. In New Zealand, it’s estimated that 1 out of every 5 children do not have enough to eat, with the majority of these food insecure children being Maori. Kahukiwa’s work asks the viewers to consider what potential is being lost due to this food insecurity. If you are interested in this topic, the New York Times released an article discussing how Maori people are combining mutual aid and traditional food practices in order to combat this problem not only for Moari children but all children of New Zealand.

Rebecca Roanhorse (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and African American) is a writer who combines Navajo storytelling and beliefs with the genre of science fiction. Her debut novel, Trail of Lightning, tells the story of environmental devastation and how Indigenous people survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Other work of hers includes writing for “Rick Riordan’s Presents” series as well as Marvel’s Indigenous Voices series. Her work reminds us that there are not only Indigenous people in the future, but Indigenous futures as well.

A Tribe Called Red is an Indigenous music group from Canada. Their third album, “We are the Halluci Nation” seeks to “promote inclusivity, empathy and acceptance amongst all races and genders in the name of social justice.” The album is a collaboration between them and several other artists, ranging from traditional powwow music, Iniut Throat Singing, rap, spoken word, EDM, and so much more. You can watch the music video for their song, R.E.D, here. The music video covers topics such as migration, policing of Black and brown bodies, and relationality between humans and non-human interactions.