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Breathing Lives into Wood

Mike Dangeli, a First Nations artist and craftsman from the Nisga’a tribe in Western Canada, has devoted his life to preserving Indigenous history in masks, dance, song, and, mostly now, by carving ornate totem poles. The poles, a tradition that Dangeli says date back to creation, are meant to honor important moments in Indigenous history—both the treasured and the painful.

Written by JEFF GREENWALD
Photographed by JEFF GREENWALD AND CHERYL SUMSION

Pablita Velarde’s Legacy: The Pueblo Artisans of the Southwest

Among the different Indigenous cultures represented by the Southwest’s Native American tribes, some of the richest history of craftsmanship has been, and still is, practiced by the Pueblo Indians. For some of these artisans, the inspiration for carrying on came from an early artistic pioneer: a rebel painter named Pablita Velarde.

Written by DANIEL GIBSON
Photography by KITTY LEAKEN

The Clay Conjurer

Felipe Ortega devoted his life to creating the perfect pot of beans—and to teaching people from around the world, regardless of ethnicity, to make micaceous clay pots in the same style he learned from a local tribal Elder. Over the years, Ortega’s journey involved such an unusual combination of the traditional and the nontraditional that it brought some old questions into a new light: Who owns a tradition? Who is allowed to learn and practice it, and for what purpose?

Written by DEBORAH BUSEMEYER
Photography by KITTY LEAKEN

Food Shift

In an era of chronic drought, could desert crops become the new sustainable dinner?

By CHRISTOPHER D. COOK

Keepers of Indigenous Tradition

Unlike most Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, many Native American tribes located in the Southwest have retained their ancestral homelands and their sovereign governance through the ages. This has enabled their traditional ways and art forms not only to survive, but also to continue evolving. To understand how this came to pass, our writers peek into the region’s long and colorful history.

BY ROSEMARY DIAZ and DANIEL GIBSON

When Indigenous Women Win

In a small, Indigenous community in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, a band of determined women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory gave the town a new sense of purpose by reviving its traditional livelihood, its capacity for self-government, and its communal spirit.

Story and photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

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