THE IDENTITY PROJECT

fostering hope and weaving identity through documentary storytelling


The Identity Project began serving Native American youth in Santa Fe, NM in the winter of 2017 with the Urban Native Youth Pilot Program. This pilot was comprised of two spring semester residencies at Capital High School and Santa Fe High School respectively. Building off of the success of the initial pilot, The Identity Project launched our 2017 Summer Arts Lab, a 5-week immersive experience in documentary storytelling for Indigenous youth. 

Our pedagogical approach is delicately designed to cultivate empowerment and illuminate the voices of Indigenous youth through documentary storytelling modalities. Because this program strives to respond directly to the needs of the community it serves, we have integrated two unique systems of programatic support that infuse our existing curriculum with a culturally sensitive ethic and approach. 

Our New Mexico partners include:

Indian Education Division of NM Public Education Department
NM Department of Cultural Affairs
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Native American Student Services of Santa Fe Public Schools
Women's International Study Center

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pedagogical framework

In an effort to ground itself in the cultural values of Indigenous, and specifically Pueblo, youth, The Identity Project has worked closely with Simon Oritz, Acoma Pueblo poet and scholar, to design a pedagogical framework that draws inspiration and direction from Dr. Eunice Romero-Little’s The Keres Study: Identifying Giftedness Among Keresan Pueblo Indians. Conducted from 1990-1993, this study was instrumental in breaking down and problematizing conventional understandings of intelligence as represented by the IQ test. Dr. Romero-Little’s research resulted in the documentation of a Pueblo construct of giftedness encompassing four domains and suggesting multiple intelligences. The Identity Project has aligned our learning phases to these domains in an effort to celebrate the “whole child” and embrace the cultural values of the community we serve. 

Click to read Pedagogical Framework.

Click to read Pedagogical Framework.

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Indigenous Master
artist series

This series brings some of the most established voices in Indigenous literature and creative practice directly in to the classroom. Master Artists craft workshops that build on Identity Project curricular themes, giving students an in-depth experience of their relationship to their discipline. 

Our renowned Identity Project Master Artists Series has included: 

dg nanouk okpik (Inupiaq-Inuit) - poet
Stephen Fadden (Mohawk) - theater artist
Chee Brossy (Diné) - fiction writer
Enrico Nassi (Otoe Missouria/Cherokee) - theater artist
Robert Mesa (Navajo/Soboba) - photographer
Jaime Figueroa (Taíno) - poet