GIVING BACK (NOT SHOGUN)
Photo: Navajo Silversmith Don Platero
In the days after my late Aunt's funeral, we scratched our heads and wondered if we should entertain the idea of continuing her Native American jewelry business. I remember thinking that if we ever decided to, I would be governed by two principles. Foremost, we would have a giveback model. If, as a white woman, my future is tied to financially benefiting off of Native American goods - then I absolutely have a duty to return proceeds to Native Communities.
Launching the business in 2020, the obvious beneficiary for the foreseeable future is Navajo and Hopi Covid-19 Relief. This grassroots non-profit is Indigenous led and has done an astounding job responding to the immediate and ever-changing needs of a community disproportionately affected by a respiratory virus. The second principle we would be guided by is that Representation Matters, and images of our jewelry on humans would be inclusive, diverse, and reflective of what the world truly looks like.