NDNs at UBC: Post-apocalyptic representation for the Lost & Found

The lack of Indigenous media was prominent when we grew up. Our experience being Indigenous as seen on TV was Brother Bear or Pocahontas. We didn’t realize that the ‘Indian’ that kids would pretend to be was probably one of our ancestors — not some joke for entertainment. We were raised with the thought that our people were a joke and that our reality was false. We didn’t understand why we could never relate to anyone on the TV, why we were uncomfortable going to the houses of white friends and why it was easier to pretend to be anything other than Indigenous when we were asked about our race.

Eventually, as we’ve grown, we have watched Indigenous media grow and evolve with us, as the shame has lessened and the race to reclaim has become more urgent. We’re seeing more Indigenous representation on TV, the resurgence of Indigenous art — tattooing, beading, carving, storytelling — and the growth of Indigenous presence on social media. @statlew_, @intheforest.tattoo and @lisa.beading are some artists who bring these realms together. Finally, Indigeneity is something we can relate to as members of the lost generations who have been raised on ‘white is right.’ We finally have something for us again, something that we can truly be proud of.

Despite this growth, this desire to be proud, there is still a preconception that Indigeneity is something to hide, something to be ashamed of — especially in our generation. As we struggle to regain our identity in the wake of what most would consider an apocalypse, the end of the world as we, Indigenous peoples, know it. Sure, some will protest at the word ‘apocalypse’ but these people cannot imagine what we have been through. The way that we think now, talk now and live now are all different. Our existence was not born of gradual and welcomed change but a forceful shift in everything we knew. But now, more than ever, we as Indigenous people are finally reclaiming ourselves. 

In order to reclaim our world, we are constantly searching for new ways to share our lives, experiences, emotions and art. As young Indigenous people, we want to take part in this growth and movement. We seek to create a platform of change, a place for Indigenous kin to share their stories and to have their voices heard. Through storytelling and participatory action, we are creating a zine that acts as a concrete document of our lived experiences navigating a post-colonial world and the diasporas that exist on land that was once our own. 

We have titled this zine Lost & Found, alluding to the colonial foundations of so-called ‘Canada’ and continuous Indigenous resistance and resurgence. It is open to all Indigenous people of colour who wish to have somewhere to put their thoughts on living life in a colonial world as an Indigenous person. We hope Lost & Found will be a place where you feel welcomed to contribute and learn, to take and share and to reclaim the Indigeneity that was once taken from us.

If you want to contribute to Lost & Found please contact Aquila Underwood (aq.underwood@gmail.com) or Julianna Yue (juliannayue@gmail.com).

NDNs at UBC is an open-form column written by Indigenous UBC students. If you’re interested in getting involved, submit pitches or completed articles to opinion@ubyssey.ca.