In the post truth and reconciliation era, one should ask “why do the abused have to reconcile”? An Indian residential school survivor once said “we’re telling you the truth because we are tired of being hurt.” To these words, and others like it, change must come.
I use photography to portray the beautiful struggle of our Indigenous peoples. Often misconstrued by outsiders, the stories told of our communities are frequently expressed through an oppressive colonial lens. My intention is to depict our collective fight for respect and justice, in a way that dignifies the reality that many strive to overcome. My goal is to drive forward a critique and revocation of colonialism in order to create space for truth telling.
The people portrayed in my work often reveal a story that is peaceful, powerful and righteous. My understanding is that the expression of our identity is needed in order to undo the work of the colonizer. I work to amplify the voices of our grassroots activism through my documentary photography as a way to inspire change.
My motivation to create is tied to my father’s resiliency to paint stories of our people. I work to emulate his symbolism within my imagery. As a survivor himself, he worked out of necessity to teach and provide. In the spirit of reciprocity, I hope that my images can carry our stories forward.
© 2015 Stan Williams All rights reserved.