562 BLOG

See What Happens When We Ask Young Native Americans If Racism Affects Them in America

“What I want to do, I actually want to see an actual racist-free America . . .” Lavin Reed

Project 562 recently attended the Bear Dance at the Unitah & Ooray Nation, commonly known as Northern Ute in Utah. While there we collected stories and images from several people in an attempt to understand about the dance that honors the waking of the bear and celebrates the summer solstice. When we interviewed this group of thirteen and fourteen year old dancers, Randal Church, Hunter Ridley, Lavin Reed, Cebron Mountain Lion, and Sequiah Tallbird, we asked them if stereotypes and racism affect their lives. They explained that they despised the term ‘redskin’, but didn't say much more than that, as the dance called them back.

But only a few minutes later, the group came back, apparently having spoken among themselves about what I’d asked, they'd elected Lavin to speak their truth on camera:


These kids reinforce our understanding that words carry medicine, and what these kids say from the heart contains good truth, indignation, humility, defiance, sorrow, frustration, and optimism that can heal a lot of wrong thinking and behavior.   

When they finished what they had to say, they looked us straight in our eyes and asked, "When will it go live? Do you think people will actually listen? We want people to know what it's like for us.”

I agreed to do my part to get their message shared. We hope you will join us by sharing this link.