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Photographer Matika Wilbur set out to take portraits of every Native American tribe — Results!

Updated: May 3, 2023

Project 562 is staggering in its scope, representing the Miccosukee Tribe in the Everglades all the way to the Siberian Yupik people far off the Alaska coast.

The portraits — from elders and teens to multiple generations posing together — have a sense of intimacy and warmth, with each image accompanied by her collaborators' own accounts of their lived experiences. Through its interviews, the project delves deeply into kinship and love, displacement and reconnection, the generational impacts of colonialism and racism, environmental justice and activism, and inclusion and belonging.

Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

This feature is part of CNN Style's series Hyphenated, which explores the complex issue of identity among minorities in the United States.

Over a decade ago, when Matika Wilbur began photographing all 562 federally recognized tribal nations in the US (a number which has since grown to 574), she wanted to make a comprehensive portrait of contemporary Indigenous life — one that not only corrected harmful, persistent stereotypes, but could be used as a positive resource for the youngest Native American generation.

"Project 562 is rooted in narrative correction work," Wilbur explained in a video call. "When I started, I was looking at uncovering contemporary Indigenous identity and really looking at what it looks like to be a Native person right now."

What Wilbur didn't know at the time was that the series, and now recently published book, "Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America" — would catalyze her homecoming. Wilbur, who is a member of the Swinomish and Tulalip tribes in the Pacific Northwest, was living in Seattle in 2012 just before she began the project. By its end, when she had logged 450,000 miles on the road, Wilbur became pregnant, and she and her husband decided to return to live in Tulali


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