photographs taken by Upper Peninsula Native American studentsThe Waaseyaasibii'ige: Writing With Light photography project asked Native American youth to “capture cultural memory in motion with images and words.”  Students were given cameras and asked to create a memory of someone they believed to be important in their life or their community. The photographic exhibit was displayed in the Whitman Hall commons area from Friday evening (Sept. 21) through Tuesday (Sept. 25) as part of Northern Michigan University’s Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference.

The project was designed by April Lindala, director of NMU’s Center for Native American Studies and Christine Garceau, photographer and doctoral candidate in rhetorical and technical communication at Michigan Technological University. Inspired by the work of Jim Hubbard, who spoke at last year’s UNITED conference and created a similar photography project, and Wendy Ewald, the goal of the project was to engage Native youth in an art form that has not necessarily been afforded to them.

The youth who participated were from the Marquette Area Public Schools Title VII Program, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Nah Tah Wahsh Pubic School Academy in Hannahville.

The Waaseyaasibii'ige: Writing With Light photography project was sponsored by the NMU Center for Native American Studies and made possible by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Project WEAVE. Special thanks to Christine Garceau, the site coordinators, Bonifas Fine Arts, Copper Country Arts, the Lake Superior Art Association and the U.P. Children’s Museum.