Star Wars mania is at an all time high across the world right now. And I know a lot of our Native people love the movie too. Something about good triumphing over evil maybe? With the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weekend, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how the Star Wars franchise has influenced many of our Native artists across Indian Country.
Ryan Singer is a Navajo artist who grew up on the Navajo Nation in Many Farms, Arizona but is now based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. KNAU Arizona Public Radio recently did an interview with the artist and he talked a little bit about why Star Wars has featured heavily in his art.
“And as I got older I started to, kind of like fusing pop-culture imagery with the Navajo culture. Somehow that Star Wars just, kind of like, manifested in there. And, I always thought of Tatooine as the desert that was close to Tuba City where I grew up, and the Sand People nomadic people real similar to how the Navajos were. So, there were all these similarities I saw in the movies. There really is, like sort of, two different worlds, you know, as far as culture. I try to bring them together and mix them up.”
STEVEN PAUL JUDD
I know you guys recognize this next guy! Steven Paul Judd is a Kiowa-Choctaw artist from Oklahoma who frequently plays with pop culture in his art. Check out a little bit of his Photoshop skills with the below images.
Judd also worked with Ryan RedCorn on a pre-movie PSA that enlists a bunch of Star Wars action figures. Look at the drum group! Lol!
Bunky Echo-Hawk is a Yakama/Pawnee artist from Oklahoma who constantly mixes traditional and modern themes in his art. One of his most famous pieces (and one of my favorites) is “If Yoda Was An Indian”.
Andy Everson is a Northwest Coast Artist who is very into upholding the traditions of both the K’ómoks and Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw First Nations. Most of his work is in the traditional realm but a few Star Wars characters have made their way into his portfolio. Now these may seem like just an homage to the film, but they are actually a way to raise awareness of political issues facing First Nations people.
Jeffrey Veregge is a member of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe but is also of Suquamish and Duwamish ancestry. He is a long time connoisseur of comic books, toys and other pop culture phenomenon so it comes as no surprise that he is also into Star Wars!
OxDx clothing is pretty popular around these parts! If you're not familiar, their best selling t-shirts are the “Native Americans Discovered Columbus” and the “Mis-Rep” styles. Recently they launched their 2015 Fall line and included in the collection was an “R2Diné2” t-shirt! You better run over to http://oxdx.storenvy.com/ if you want to snatch one up. There's only a few tees left!
HOPI GIRL SILVER
Cynthia Begay is the talented silversmith behind Hopi Girl Silver. I recently came across her page and saw she had a Boba Fett-inspired ring! “The Hunter helmet inside Navajo rug pays homage to the Star Wars movie translated in Dine Bizaad.”
And speaking of the first film, I have a couple clips here of Star Wars dubbed in Navajo!
There you have it folks, we have a ton of Indigenous Star Wars fans out there in the galaxy! I hope you guys enjoyed looking at all the creativity out there! May the force be with you.