As we come to the end of November, which is Native American Heritage Month, we wanted to spotlight local Indigenous organization who do incredible work. These group share our belief in the transformative power of creativity, and use it in order to create impact in our community. We hope that you support them not only now, but throughout the whole year.
Daybreak Star Radio works to indigenize the airwave. An active program of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, this online international radio station is dedicated to giving voice to new and established Native American musical artists across all genres of music and across all of the Americas. 90% of their music is played, composed, and/or produced by Native Americans. The other 10% is music from those who specifically support Indigenous causes or have spent significant time learning Native instruments and styles.
Their musical, educational, cultural, and language arts programming helps reconnect Indigenous people to their heritage by strengthening their sense of belonging and significance as a people. The radio’s varied content helps reflect the different life experiences of indigenous communities and celebrates their resilience, talent, and creativity.
In a recent interview with King 5, DJ Big Rez spoke to the significance of this work, “It’s just music, but it’s an art form. I’ve learned it’s an energy. It’s important to just highlight these people, you know, it’s their art, it’s their story.”
Red Eagle Soaring mentors Native youth as they learn about the technical aspects and process of theatre. They have staged over 180 productions, and supported youth access to the healing power of Native cultural traditions which promote social, physical, and intellectual engagement.
Their programming cycle begins early in the year, rehearsing for a play which performs late spring/early summer. In August, they offer an intensive 2-week summer theatre workshop, called Seattle Indigenous Youth Art & Performance (SIYAP), in which youth explore traditional and contemporary performing arts and create a final public performance at the end of the camp. Then during fall and winter, they offer various workshops including creative writing, Basic and Advanced acting skills, music-focused workshops, Short Film projects, and more.
Their work often ties in directly to the Pacific Northwest and to issues which indigenous communities face. Their programming provides not only a space for self-expression, but creates a community in which Native arts and life ways are celebrated.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Red Eagle Soaring opened the doors to their first-ever dedicated theater space at Station Space, located in King Street Station. Read more about Red Eagle Soaring and their new space here. Donate to support their work.
yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective is a community of intertribal Indigenous artists who help improve Indigenous well-being through art-making, community building, and equitable creative opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Their work centers womxn, Two Spirit, and young people and offers opportunities for artists at every stage of their career. These opportunities include exhibitions, installations, performances, residencies, markets, publications, grants, as well as relationship-building and mentorship opportunities with the intent that all participants will gain experience, exposure, and grow sustaining connections.
The Lushootsheed word “yəhaw̓” means to proceed, to go forward, to do it. It comes from a Tulalip story when, a long time ago, the sky was too low. Tall people kept bumping their heads. Many different communities gathered to do something about it. They spoke different languages, but realized they only needed to know one word in common to understand each other. That word was yəhaw̓. The people made long poles out of saplings and lifted them against the sky. They heaved upwards as they called out yəhaw̓ in unison to synchronize their efforts. After a few tries, they succeeded – changing the world as we know it. The collective is guided by the values, the idea that together we can lift the sky.
One year ago, the collective was able to purchase 1.5 acres of land in Rainier Valley. Since then, they have been working on restoring the land, creating space for art making and ecological education. Learn more about yəhaw̓ and how their purchase is part of a broader land rematration movement here. Support their work here.