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Quannah ChasingHorse, age 18 is from the Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota tribes and lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.  She is an Indigenous land protector for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting those sacred lands from oil development and fighting for climate justice.  Quannah’s deep connection to the lands and her people’s way of life guides and informs everything she does and stands for.   She is passionate about Indigenous rights, MMIWG and representation.  She is an avid snowboarder,  guitar player, and is apprenticing as a traditional Indigenous tattoo artist.  Quannah was honored to make the 2020 list of Teen Vogue’s “Top 21 under 21.”

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Part 1:Traditional Tattoos🖤

I am from the Raven Clan of the Han Gwich’in tribe from my mother. I am Oglala Lakota from my father. Traditionally Han Gwich’in women wore facial markings in the form of Yidįįłtoo(tattoos). Each Yidįįłtoo(tattoo) done in ceremony, represents a rite of passage, becomes part of our story, and has powerful, significant meaning. However, due to colonization a lot of Indigenous culture, ceremonies, practices and teachings were stripped from our people. One of the first things colonizer’s quickly identified to erase from our culture was the practice of tattooing across Turtle Island. Everyone’s tattoos are significant to them and held different meanings. Women in my tribe usually got the chin tattoos at different points, or stages in life, representing a rite of passage.
Reclaiming my identity as Gwich’in girl coming into womanhood, has been a powerful experience that has had a profound impact on my life in the most positive ways.  Traditionally women gave each other tattoos. I had wanted a traditional tattoo as an early teen, but I had a lot to learn, understand the meaning, significance, the connection and sacredness.  The traditional tattoos are not just for looks, they are not a trend or fashion statement.  I had to be ready spiritually, mentally and emotionally for the big step of wearing these markings in today’s world. My momma was fully supportive through this and we talked a lot about it, prayed about it, sat with the idea in sweat ceremonies until one winter moon we both knew it was time, I was ready.  My mother gave me my tattoo one evening at home, hand poke style, in a ceremony that was so powerful and meaningful.  I am the first girl(age 14)to get a traditional tattoo as my coming of age ceremony in over a century since tattoo practices were banned through colonization.  My chin tattoo was also the first tattoo my mom ever gave anyone and now she has given other Indigenous women their traditional tattoos as well.  
To be continued...
📸: @lilmamagrace 

Part 2: Yidįįłtoo🖤(traditional tattoos) 
TW: severe depression and anxiety

A little over a year ago when I felt distracted and hurt, and couldn’t focus on my future or even my day to day life. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depressive disorder and actively working towards healing and healthy coping. I’ve been fighting these feelings and emotions since I was in elementary. I hated feeling stuck, unhappy, anxious, and worthless all the time. I was constantly letting my trauma control how I lived. Through personal growth and my culture keeping me grounded, I was able to find my focus again. I wanted markings that could represent a clear vision through life’s challenges and obstacles, to continue moving forward and not get stuck in the past, so I asked my mom to tattoo along the sides of my eyes.
Like a lot of others, I still have bad days and I still struggle once in a while but these tattoos are a great reminder of who I am, the powerful meaning, how far I’ve come, where I come from and how resilient and strong my people, my bloodline, and my ancestors are. Being a part of reviving our traditional tattoo practices has been one of the most powerful, beautiful and important things I will ever do. I wear these traditional markings humbly as many generations of Han Gwich’in women have, however I also wear them with pride, dignity, respect and gratitude. 

Mahsi’choo 🙏🏽
📸: @lilmamagrace 
Yidįįłtoo: @iron.jody 


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Pt. 2
This art piece is so powerful.
The word “Indian” was used throughout history to diminish and undermine indigenous people all over turtle island. But this piece is a reminder that everywhere you go, you are on stolen land. That we can turn something that was meant to harm us, into something beautiful and powerful. 
As indigenous people, we don’t like to be referred to as “Indians”, but this is a good representation of our resilience. 
As we move forward in this growing society, we are reclaiming so much that was lost. Including the land.
Most people are confused by the #landback movement, but we aren’t asking for everyone to leave this country and give the land back. We are asking that everyone that lives/walks on stolen land, that they recognize what tribes were forcefully moved from their ancestral homes onto reservations. 
To respect indigenous sovereignty, knowledge and ways of life. To decolonize our ways of thinking and ways of being. 
@nicholasgalanin your art piece has brought attention to the indigenous peoples all over, it’s beautiful to see. 
Check out my bio for the GoFundMe for the Landback movement and more information on this sign. It is not permanent, so no need to be negative about it when it will be taken down. Mahsi’choo 🙏🏽❤️
📸: @kerioberly ❤️

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Pt. 1 📍TONGVA AND KIZH LANDS ( Yaangna - so called “Los Angeles” in Tongva ) 
Hollywood’s misrepresentation of indigenous peoples all over is what we have to diminish and rise from. We are constantly breaking and healing from inter generational trauma and those harmful stereotypes that were set in place since first contact. 
As we see more indigenous peoples being uplifted and included in the industries, it can be hard, exhausting, traumatic, and so tiring because it takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to constantly educate and relive some of the trauma we work so hard to heal from because we want to share these experiences and our stories so people understand how strong and resilient we are. How our ancestors went through so much for us to be here. How our bloodlines are powerful and sacred. 
We are beautiful peoples with rich culture and values that keeps us grounded and connected to our ancestors, spirit, mind and body. Never take any of it for granted and reclaim your power
📸: @kerioberly ❤️


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I’m very honored and excited to cover the Georgia Edition of @vmagazine’s V127 voting initiative, created in collaboration with @inezandvinoodh and @plus1vote to raise awareness about the Georgia Senate runoff elections!

Head to the link in bio to learn more about the Senate runoff!

Photography by @inezandvinoodh

Interview by @gautambalasundar 

For more information, go to our V IS FOR VOTE hub on vmagazine.com<http://vmagazine.com>, created in collaboration with @plus1vote!

Need a ride to the polls? Plus1Vote is partnering with Uber to provide free rides for the current Georgia senate runoffs! You can use the voucher code “VoteGA” for a free ride on January 5th!

"Even if you don't really believe in politics, vote for whomever you feel like is right, whoever fits your values the most. For me, I always vote my indigenous values and who I believe in, and how I grew up. It's about [taking care of] the people, the lands and the waters and the animals, everything that comes with it.” -me

I just wanted to say Mahsi’choo to @inezandvinoodh @imgmodels@vmagazine for uplifting my voice, making my first cover shoot fun, welcoming and comfortable. 🖤🤍


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