Albuquerque, New Mexico is an exceptional example of racial and ethnic diversity. As a member of this community, and as a racially mixed individual – what locals refer to as coyote – I have always been fascinated with this sense of cultural identity.
With so many various perspectives regarding how a person might relate to multiple cultures or ethnic backgrounds, what is to become of the originating cultures? How is a multicultural person supposed to view them? And how is he or she supposed to view him or herself, being part of two cultural backgrounds as well?
These are questions I had rattling around in my mind – probably on a daily basis honestly – as I sat down to speak with Nina Freer. Nina’s photodocumentary piece, titled titled “WHO ARE THE NATIVES? ¿QUIÉNES SON LAS INDÍGENAS?”, addresses these issues from a native woman’s perspective.
The following is Nina Freer’s statement regarding her work:
What does it mean to be an indigenous woman in modern times? The piece is a self reflective series exploring an unfixed form of identity that is both constructed by internal admission and external assessment. Often we are not seen for the beliefs or ethnicity that we possess and in turn we can also be judged by our exterior presence that we do not identify with.
I would like to discuss the various roles we find ourselves and have created as mujeres de indigina sangre in a modern era. After a discussion with mi madre I have started to self reflect upon my own role and the various needs that we fulfill in the community as indigenous women. I have begun to acknowledge my upbringing and cultural influences that have not necessarily been directly identified as native traditions. As a Mexicana though there is much mixed native blood and am starting to see the traditions of my family. I am trying to find my place by examining other women. I am looking at women as revolutionary, reformer, spiritual leader, peacemaker, healer and matriarch; the various components of being a female warrior.