Across the globe, Indigenous peoples are leading the charge on a variety of social and environmental fronts. In addition to the common elements of respecting the advice of elders, encouraging the voices of the youth and leading with prayer, these activist movements heavily activate the arts and social media. This chapter highlights the ways several different movements have employed the arts and leveraged their impacts through the use of specific social media strategies. Movements and accompanying artworks to be included are #MMIW (Walking With Our Sisters and the Urban Indian Health Institute’s report on MMIW), #WaterIsLife (various art inspired by the #NoDAPL standoff), #ProtectBearsEars (various art developed by an inter-tribal coalition to protect sacred spaces in the American SW), and #ProtectMaunaKea (protecting a sacred mountain from repeated desecration in the name of Science).
Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Zuni/Tlingit) is an assistant professor of North American Indigenous Knowledge at the iSchool and an independent curator. Indigenous knowledge systems are central to her work as she examines the role of social media and the arts in protecting, documenting and perpetuating Native information and knowledge. Her work highlights and celebrate Native artists, their processes, and the exquisite pieces they create. She has worked with tribal, city, state and federal museums to create Native-focused educational programming, publications and art exhibitions. Belarde-Lewis holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arizona, an M.A. in Museology and Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Washington.