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Portrait-Photographer Matika Wilbur presents Nov. 9 Native American Heritage Month Lecture at Whitworth

November 2, 2016
Whitworth University will welcome acclaimed photographer Matika Wilbur for a Native American Heritage Month lecture, “25 Lessons from Indian Roads.” The lecture will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (509) 777-4721.

The lecture will provide insights into contemporary Native American life, driving the conversation forward to encourage members of the U.S. society to evolve beyond the appropriation and neglect of indigenous images and traditions. Wilbur hopes to do this through a new model of awareness, with honest photographic representation and direct narratives of America's first people.

Wilbur, a descendant from Washington’s Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, is the creator and director of Project 562 and the only Native American photographer and social documentarian to be welcomed into each of the 562-plus Native American sovereign territories in the United States. For the past four years, she has collaborated with scores of tribes to share the images and truths of Native American peoples.

Wilbur began her extraordinary portrait work after a dream in which her grandmother Laura Wilbur, a prominent Swinomish tribal leader, urged her to return home from a South American assignment and begin photographing her own people. She first focused on portraits of Coast Salish elders in We Are One People, and she probed the breadth and complexity of contemporary Native American identity with We Emerge and with a 2011 one-person exhibition, Save the Indian, Kill the Man, at The Seattle Art Museum.

Wilbur’s photographs have been included in Seattle Art Museum’s S’abadeb – The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art – and she has also exhibited at the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound, and Tacoma Art Museum. Her photographs have been acquired for the permanent collections of Tacoma Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum.

Two successful Kickstarter campaigns, sophisticated networking, high-profile presentations (including TEDx Seattle and New York), and major media articles and interviews (Oprah magazine, NYTimes, NBC, Upworthy, Indian Country Today, Huffington Post, etc.) have fueled tremendous national and international interest in and support for Project 562.

Wilbur says, "I believe the viewers will experience great understanding and connection with these remarkable people, just as my subjects have enlightened and inspired me. By exposing the astonishing variety of the Indian presence and reality, we will build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy.”

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


David H. Garcia, assistant dean of student diversity, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4721 or

Lauren Clark Hughes, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or