American Indigeneity

Viewpoint Photographic Art Center
2015 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

As an indigenous woman, Brooklyn Shinabargar's photography focuses on Native American cultures and people. Native American people tend to be invisible in mainstream art. Indigenous culture is beautiful and deserves to be appreciated and protected, not just seen as relics of the past. Today Indigenous communities face many challenges all over North America. She hopes her work can bring light to these issues, such as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic. Her photos highlight her own Tanku Nisenan and Tel-Mel-Ti Washoe culture, along with other tribes who attend Big Times and Powwows in California.

Many of her images center on the acorn, the food staple of California Native people. Ut-i is the Nisenan word for acorn. She honors the Ut-i with art and photography by showing the process of preparing acorns, from gathering and drying to cracking, cleaning, and pounding, and then to leaching and cooking.

She is influenced by the strength, passion, and success she sees in Native women, especially her grandmother, April Moore. She left for her spiritual journey in 2015. Brooklyn thinks of her in everything she does and wants to make her as proud as possible. But she's not doing this only for her. She's doing this for all Indigenous Americans who don’t see their people represented in this modern world that exists in our very homelands. She's doing this for the future generations of Indigenous citizens, tribal leaders, and water protectors. She's doing this for those who were lost before her time – the children being uncovered at Indian residential schools, those enslaved in the name of progress during the California Gold Rush, and those who went into hiding because it wasn’t safe to be Indigenous. She's doing this for her people and herself.