Educational Website Uses Photography And Poetry To Help Native Youth

Aug 1, 2018

The new website Everyday Native highlights the use of photography and poetry to help bridge the gap between Native and non-Native students alongside their teachers. 

Photos of kids in traditional regalia next to photos of them playing basketball emphasize how different the Native world is from life outside the reservation. These photos are paired with poetry and are intended to build a community in education.

Sue Reynolds, co-founder and photographer for EverydayNative.com said this could be a useful teaching tool.

“This kind of a resource that uses photography that uses poems that uses creativity to also teach subjects such as language arts, like Native American history, US history, social studies, poetry, writing and all sorts of current events all sorts of subjects. And I really wanted this to be a force for social change.”

Everyday Native will exhibit stories, photos, and poems about the experiences of living on and off a reservation for Native youth. The website will also offer talking points for teachers to help create community and understanding between Natives and non-Natives.

“Looking at historical events from a Native and non-Native perspective. How would you feel if your family or you couldn’t practice the religion that was your traditional cultural religions? So, these kinds of questions get to how would you feel if you couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that? And what would it be like?” said Reynolds.

Victor Charlo is a co-founder of Everyday Native and writes the poetry that is paired with Reynolds photography. Charlo is Bitterroot Salish and has lived on and around the Flathead Reservation for most of his life. Reynold and Charlo’s friendship inform the websites’ intention to bridge gaps between Native and non-Native.

Reynolds describes one of her pictures and the importance of images.

“It shows a Lakota older brother carrying his two-year-old brother around the yard and shows what that older brother is doing with the younger brother. That kind of a picture is a very common everyday picture, it’s something that a non-native kid would be doing with their younger sister or their younger brother.”

EverydayNative.com launched July 31.