Reflections on Resilience
When we talk about cultural resilience, we recognize the loss of language and tradition, misunderstandings of Indigenous students and students of color in mainstream culture, confusion about identity, and the struggle to regain and maintain our agency. These interconnected issues are deep-seated in many families and inherent to student experiences here at Fort Lewis College.
By forming a unified artistic environment, this project’s approach is to bring together a collective and diverse narrative that confronts the implications of our histories continuously being told from a dominant perspective. By asking students to lead the conversation, we present Indigenous students and students of color as innovative contemporary artists, and challenge the way we interact with American history.
The stories of my ancestors live within me. These are not stories that are told, but rather stories I feel exist in my heart and in my bones. They are whispers of time – remnants of what has been lost through generations.
In this space, we give a voice to the stories that have existed in silence – stories of trauma, loss, and grief… stories of bravery and resilience and identity. In doing so, we recreate our narrative of Indigenous peoples and as Indigenous peoples; we give power to our own truths.
— Emily McWilliams (Diné), Anthropology + Biology, Fort Lewis College ‘21
Destiny Morgan (Diné, Nahiłii) speaking at the opening of the exhibit.