7 Indigenous Creators Driving Culture
At Day One, we are passionate about Fresh Perspectives and are committed to amplifying diverse voices. When we looked at the influencer landscape and the partnerships these voices garnered, we noticed a gap in representation. That’s why, in 2019, we created The Ones to Know — a curated resource of creators, artists, athletes, innovators, change makers, and storytellers from diverse communities who are stopping us in our scrolls. The Ones to Know was created to elevate the voices of creators and storytellers from underrepresented, minority communities.
In this edition of The Ones to Know, we’re highlighting Indigenous creators across the nations who are driving culture in their specialized industries.
1. Demian DinéYazhi’, @RISEindigenous: Demian DinéYazhi’ works to create a platform for Indigenous queer, trans, two-spirit, nonbinary or gender conforming, and matriarchal feminist voices through their personal art and through an artist activist initiative called R.I.S.E. (Radical Indigenous Survivance and Empowerment). They were born to the clans Naasht’ézhí Tábąąhá and Tódích’íí’nii of the Diné tribe.
2. Wendy Red Star, @wendyredstar: Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance.
3. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, @xiuhtezcatl: Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is an American environmental activist, the youth director of Earth Guardians (a worldwide conservation organization) and a hip hop artist. He is of Aztec heritage and was raised in the tradition of the Mexica. “My music is both a tool for resistance, and a medium to tell my story. My dad taught me that all life is sacred. When I was a little boy, we would always talk about our responsibility to protect our land, our culture, our earth as indigenous people. These teachings are the foundation of the music I write and the things I fight for.” - Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
4. Jordan Craig, @Jordananncraig: Jordan Craig is a Northern Cheyenne artist based in Santa Fe, NM. Craig’s work includes large abstract paintings, textile prints, and fashion pieces informed by Northern Cheyenne and Cheyenne beadwork. Her ideas and influencers stem from Indigenous design and personal family experience - each piece is rooted in a story. Her recent collaboration with Rumpl blankets includes two pieces of art with a portion of product sales benefiting First Peoples Fund. “I know the appropriation of Native culture is an ongoing problem. Through my own work and my passion in the fashion business, I’m constantly fighting and trying to utilize my representation to actually put real Native work out there. Native-inspired work vs. actual Native work – there’s a huge difference. I think utilizing artists of Indigenous descent who have those cultural values; we should be supporting and uplifting those artists directly.” - Jordan Craig
5. Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, @thompsonbrotherslax: Jeremy, Hiana, Miles, and Lyle Thompson are Native American brothers from the Onondaga Nation and professional lacrosse players for the Iroquois Nationals Men’s World Teams. Lacrosse is a Native game originally played by members of various Indigenous tribes. The Thompson brothers work to educate and inform people on the historical significance of lacrosse played by the Native nations. “All of us – Native and non-Native – have an opportunity to understand, respect, and adopt the core values associated with the Creator’s game. As players, coaches, officials, fans, and supporters, we can learn a great deal from studying these values. By understanding and, ultimately, embracing these values, we ensure that lacrosse is played in the right spirit, and the game is made stronger.” - Thompson Brothers
6. Nahko Bear, @nahkobear: Nahko an Oregon-native born a mix of Puerto Rican, Native American, and Filipino bloodlines considers himself a citizen in service to the planet. Disillusioned by the world around him and inspired by vagabond, Americana musicians and storytellers like Bob Dylan, Nahko left home as a teenager in search of adventure and self discovery. He began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual, and social healing, and thus Medicine for the People was born. Huffington Post called Nahko’s music “beautiful and stirring.” Nahko describes his music as a mix of hip-hop and folk rock with a world message.
7. Pinar, @queerquecha: Pinar is an Indigenous multi-species mentor, futurist, consultant and philosopher. Pinar is co-founder of Queer Nature, an "organism" stewarding earth-based queer community through ancestral skills and rites of passage. Pinar is a neurodivergent emby with Wanka Quechua, Turkish and Chinese lineages. As a QTIBIPOC their inspiration is envisioning decoloniality-informed queer ancestral- futurism through interspecies accountability and remediation of human exceptionalism in the Chthulucene.