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Dr. Traci Morris Interviewed for the Indigenous Tours Project with Steven J. Yazzie

Last week, I was honored to be a part of Steven Yazzie‘s Indigenous Tours Project. This series of art works are narratives of Indigenous people and they function as a community outreach project that reinterprets land, peoples, and histories. Steve is a Navajo/Laguna multidisciplinary artist working out of Phoenix, Arizona.  He’s a painter, sculptor, performance, installation, and film/video artist.

According to Yazzie, the Indigenous Tours Project (ITP) “utilizes the activity of touring to build a meaningful relationship with indigenous land, people, culture, and history/pre-history. ITP is a socially engaged endeavor focusing on touring: indigenous geographies, community locations, homelands, sovereign territories, and contested land. ITP seeks to form meaningful relationships through the process of touring with indigenous participants (tour guides), who are interested in sharing their knowledge with non-indigenous people, or non-community members, as a way to construct a cross-cultural dialogue. ITP encourages indigenous community members from touring regions to established tour locations, routes, times, and general parameters of the tour, allowing the indigenous participants (tour guides) greater control of their role in the tour activity. In this sense, ITP supports a broad range of tours, from the small, informal tours of personal space, to the more expansive tours related to historical and culturally significant sites, and contested territories.  By allowing a broader view and perspective of what a tour may entail, a more holistic model of exchange can be attained.”