Cover Image: Project 562

Project 562

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this review copy in exchange for an honest opinion. Review has been posted on Amazon.

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I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. Author Wilbur spent an entire decade getting to know the 562 federally recognized indigenous tribes across the US. In this book are their pictures and their stories.

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An incredible compilation of photos, stories, and knowledge. After following Matika Wilbur's work over the past several years, it's such a delight to see all of her storytelling and photography come together here. A really beautiful and important book!

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Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for an early copy in exchange for an honest review

I thought this was such an inspiring non fiction about a woman who sold everything she had and started a Kickstarter campaign so that she may travel across the United States interview and photograph the different Native American Tribes. To help people change the way we all see Native Americans. I think the photographs are beautiful and the stories are inspiring. I learned a lot of new things. I think this book can change people's points of view.

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This absolutely gorgeous work is impressively balanced - sweeping in scope yet also wonderfully intimate. “Project 562” is the perfect prescription for people like myself who have little to no sense of the diversity of the country’s indigenous peoples and are in dire need of a deep glimpse.

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Project 562 chronicles modern-day Native Americans and their activities. This would be an excellent coffee table book, with a little bit to read whenever you want. There are tons of names and tons of tribes, some you've heard of, and probably more that you haven't. It was super interesting to see what is going on all across the US, and my favorite bits were the vignettes about Standing Rock, canoeing, and Hawaii. Informative, and written like brief articles, with photos to accompany everything.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ten Speed Press for the e-ARC!

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I have the hardest time reviewing the books that touch my heart the most.

This review is going to be a little different. A little less formal. A little more like a conversation. I want to tell you why this book brought tears to my eyes, filled my heart with hope, and will stay with me forever.

I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Growing up, my school district’s mascot was a word I can’t say, because it’s a slur now. It was wrong, then, too. They changed the mascot fairly recently.

There has been a lot of progress like that in the last twenty or so years. Indigenous folks are getting to tell their own stories, their way. Shows like Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls, books from authors including Cynthia Leitich Smith, Angeline Boulley, Traci Sorell, Darcie Little Badger, and more are doing incredible work for Native representation.

But there is still an expansive archive of misrepresentation. Author Matika Wilbur shares a quote from Cherokee academic and author of Notable Native People Dr. Adrienne Keene in Project 562‘s opening, “Representation without us is representation done to us.” (Dr. Keene and Wilbur co-host a beloved podcast, All My Relations. I highly recommend it!)

So, Project 562. What is it? And why does it mean so much to me?

Project 562 was started by Matika Wilbur, a photojournalist who set out to change the narrative around what Native life is really like. This book is a selection of photos and interviews from Wilbur’s journey. It is full of wisdom, humor, heart, and broad representation. This collection captures the diversity of Indigenous lives, from babies, children, and teens to adults and elders. Girls, women, boys, men, non-binary, and two spirits are all represented. Tradish, Rez, reconnecting. Black Natives, brown Natives, light-skinned mixed heritage folks. Indian Country is a rich tapestry of Indigenous people, and Wilbur shares their stories. The result is a beautiful encapsulation of contemporary Indigenous life.

Wilbur has created a resource, a gift, a bundle of good medicine that shares Indigenous stories. It is unmatched, full of beautiful photographs of Native folks sharing their personal histories and stories. It’s a love letter to Indian Country, to Native communities, to Indigenous people across Turtle Island.

A common thread woven throughout the collection is the importance of Indigenous language. As a Cherokee language learner and strong supporter of Indigenous language preservation and revitalization, it filled my heart with hope to see this theme highlighted in these stories. In her opening note, Wilbur shares this:

Get to know us as we know ourselves. Learn to call us by our names. Say it in our language. As Marilyn Balluta says, “one word spoken is one less word lost.”-- Matika Wilbur, Project 562

That is the heart of this collection.

Why is this so important? Wilbur explains, “The way Native people see ourselves affects the way we treat ourselves.”

We need this representation. Our kids need this representation. I plan to keep this book out and available to my own children at all times. It’s so incredibly important for Native kids to see themselves represented positively. My kids have to fight so many battles already– misrepresentation at school, colonized history textbooks, generalized Native American stereotypes. This collection, these stories, those images– it is a gift to them. A hug. Encouraging words from kids like them, adults they can aspire to be like, elders they can admire.

All kids deserve this kind of representation. Aliheliga– I am grateful. This book is a gift to the world.

Wado, Matika Wilbur, for sharing your gift. My family, and many others, will treasure this collection. These pages will be worn, loved, cherished.

I’d like to close with a quote from the author herself. She says it best:

I’m dreaming about a modern world that doesn’t erase its Indigenous intelligence but rather embraces the rich complexity of Indigenous cultures. -- Matika Wilbur

Wado to NetGalley, Ten Speed Press, and author Matika Wilbur for an advanced digital copy such that I could share my honest opinions.

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I absolutely loved learning about so many different indigenous cultures and peoples, the art is gorgeous and the photos are beautiful! Definitely good pick!

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Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America by Matika Wilbur is currently scheduled for release on April 25 2023. In 2012, Matika Wilbur sold everything in her Seattle apartment and set out on a Kickstarter-funded pursuit to visit, engage, and photograph people from what were then the 562 federally recognized Native American Tribal Nations. Over the next decade, she traveled six hundred thousand miles across fifty states—from Seminole country (now known as the Everglades) to Inuit territory (now known as the Bering Sea)—to meet, interview, and photograph hundreds of Indigenous people. The body of work Wilbur created serves to counteract the one-dimensional and archaic stereotypes of Native people in mainstream media and offers justice to the richness, diversity, and lived experiences of Indian Country. The culmination of this decade-long art and storytelling endeavor, Project 562 is a peerless, sweeping, and moving love letter to Indigenous Americans, containing hundreds of stunning portraits and compelling personal narratives of contemporary Native people—all photographed in clothing, poses, and locations of their choosing. Their narratives touch on personal and cultural identity as well as issues of media representation, sovereignty, faith, family, the protection of sacred sites, subsistence living, traditional knowledge-keeping, land stewardship, language preservation, advocacy, education, the arts, and more.

Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America is a stunning and important book. The photography is absolutely wonderful, and I could page through this book for hours to appreciate each image. More important, the text and purpose of this book is incredibly significant and I found the book to be highly engaging, informational, and meaningful on multiple levels. I think letting each of the interviewed individuals choose how that wanted to be photographed, and how their words were shared untouched went a long way in sharing their real and authentic voices, experiences, and perspectives with readers. Reading this book was as close to meeting such a variety of individuals and communities from across the country as I am likely to ever have a chance to personally. I feel like I learned a great deal, and will continue to learn more as I explore more ownvoices works by indigenous individuals. I thought I had a much better grasp and understanding on how colonialism and bigotry had shaped this country and all of its people, but I feel like I have a much better understanding of how little I actually knew after reading this book. This book has inspired be to continue my learning and understanding, and I hope it will have the effect on a wide variety of readers.

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Absolutely gorgeous book loved reading about indigenous people their lives their traditions.I will be recommending this absolutely fascinating book can’t say enough about this wonderful read.#netgalley #project562

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Oh my heart! This book is GORGEOUS. The photos are simply stunning. Even more so though, the stories within of the people of Native tribes all around the country are simply beautiful, gutting at times, but beautiful.

You cannot truly comprehend the day to day lives that people live unless you immerse yourself in it. This gave me a small morsel of taste of just that. I would love to learn more.

Thank you Matika Wilbur for stirring in me that longing to learn more about the Native people who deserve to have their stories told.

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I was expecting a book that was organized by tribe, so to see this book organized by people was wonderful. The book is stunning photographs and then a profile of the person photographed. It also includes events. There is a lot of information in the book. I can't wait to see the final book and reread it.

5 stars

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Beautifully photographed, excellent stories, documenting a segment of our society that is largely unknown. The author has done a great job of saving this information for the future generations. This would be a great coffee table book, one that you could pick up and read a few pages, and then come back to again and again. Or in a high school sociology or history class.

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This beautiful, powerful book is an important look at contemporary Indigenous people across the United States, giving dimension and power to people who have long been portrayed as uncivilized, dangerous or lacking in some way. I can only hope that schools will add this work to their required reading and that adults everywhere will pick this up and really digest it.

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I first heard of the great Matika Wilbur via the podcast, All My Relations, which she co-hosts with Dr. Adrienne Keene ( They have great chemistry together and are both fantastic, but for me it is WIlbur's sensitivity and charm that are the heart of the show. That and an amazing eye and talent are all on display in this gorgeous book. I highly recommend it and can't wait to get my print copy.

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The authoress traveled extensively for about a decade doing what I feel was her due diligence, gathering this 'offering' for her Native American People groups. However, this could also be for those others who care and wish to learn of these people and their culture.

Matika Wilbur has arranged her collection of brilliantly commemorative photos, marking and proudly presenting many of the Native Peoples such as the Assiniboine, Chippewa, Cree, Osage Nations, Apache, Swinomish, Tulalip and so many more that she has met, interviewed and shared food and time with. Each has short snippets of write-up explanation as to their contributions to teaching the next generations, resurrecting, empowering and furthering their culture.

I believe this compilation would be a great gift for anyone and could be left on a coffee table for the interested to peruse in bits and bites as they work their way through this mammoth project. Speaking of 'project,' readers will also become privy to understanding the book's title should they choose to invest in a copy.

~Eunice C., Reviewer/Blogger~

February 2023

Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy sent by NetGalley and the publisher.

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photojournalist, indigenous-people, genocide, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-figures, current-affairs, cultural-differences, cultural-anthropology, cultural-diversity, cultural-exploration, cultural-heritage*****

Heritage and languages are disappearing from North America and, although it is mostly the fault of the greedy, it WAS the fault of the apathetic. No more! The beautiful and colorful journey through the lands and peoples who are rising up to salvage what was nearly lost is a testament to their endurance. The narrative is potent and active.
My people came from Europe in the twentieth century, but we still bear the shame.
Well suited for sharing WITH someone, and great for gifting to anyone, but especially to a school or your public library! It is DEFINITELY worth the cost!
I requested and received a free temporary e-book on Adobe Digital Editions from Clarkson Potter/Penguin Random House/Ten Speed Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

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Thank you to Penguin Random House for inviting me to review this book.

Since this book is part photography and partly written down oral history, it would make an amazing print copy and I think it would be more powerful that way. (The ebook isn’t bad, but I can see where the print would be a much better purchase.)

The profiles and photographs focus on members of federally recognized tribes in the United States. I do like that Matika Wilbur found a flaw in her process and mentions that the initial goal (photograph federally recognized tribes) was shortsighted since the federal recognition process has a lot of flaws. For instance, my Nation is one of the tribes that “assisted” in the Lewis and Clark Expedition but our recognition was revoked in the space of 18 months.

The profiles alongside photographs provided the individuals' Nation/Tribal names which was really cool. In the profiles, there are frequent topics that come up such as language, boarding schools, generational trauma, food, racism, government encroachment, and honoring sovereignty. I didn’t note every single one, but there may have been a few more frequent topics.

There are sidebars where topics like Mauna Kea, Native women and the federal rulings that impact them, and the Dakota Access Pipeline are given room to breathe and understand if it’s your first time reading about the topic.

Overall, this is a heavy book. The topics are heavy and the photographs are gorgeous, but it does show how banning culture and traditions by the US government was harmful and there are Natives who are trying to bring back them because as at least one person said, it was a genocide.

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Blow away by this book. The amount of detail that went into this is heartwarming. Pure automatic buy! Without giving spoilers there really isn’t much I can say! Truly one of a kind book!

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A beautiful and modern photography collection of indigenous North Americans. Vibrant with colors and beauty, this book makes the perfect coffee table addition for lovers of arts and photography.

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