Our ancestors were right when they said ‘Crow Country is exactly in the right place.’ My people call it the center of the universe. We continue to dance and sing, despite the challenges that we face. We are resilient, relentless, and beautiful people.                 

KamiJo Whiteclay

KamiJo Whiteclay

KamiJo Whiteclay is a proud member of the Apsáalooke/Crow Nation in Montana and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, emphasizing in Silversmithing, with a Minor in Performance Art at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her art is inspired by both the natural world and her community’s rich cultural heritage, intertwining Apsáalooke design and identity.

The Center of the Universe

The Apsáalooke Nation has a rich and beautiful language and culture.

Like many Native communities, KamiJo’s community faces challenges that are deeply rooted in generational trauma and violence. Despite those challenges, her community is resilient and proud of its culture and traditions.

In supporting her community, KamiJo is working to strengthen one coping method that helps youth in her community heal and find their place: art.

“Apsáalooke people have always been the original creatives of our homelands, using our landscape and relationship to it to inspire the work we create. Art is a form of healing and unleashing your inner voice. There is a vast amount of talent and creativity that goes unnoticed or unseen within my community. I hope to reshape the way that my community appreciates and views art and creative expression. It is important to invest in culture and arts to reclaim our own narratives and heal our communities.”

To Create Within the Heart

The Daasawuuá Kuulushbíoo (To Create Within the Heart) Project focuses on uplifting Apsáalooke youth by encouraging creativity in the arts and inspiring fearless storytelling in the next generation. KamiJo will host Creative Labs for youth to engage and learn from artists, storytellers, and elders and collaborate with the community to create a collection of children’s books, coloring books, and a poetry anthology.

By using traditional and contemporary storytelling, KamiJo is uplifting art and creativity in her community and encouraging Apsáalooke youth to use their voices. She will create a space for her people to showcase their talents through all mediums of art and storytelling.

“Giving individuals this platform will foster a deeper sense of community. Storytelling is an integral part of the traditions and culture of Apsáalooke people. It is a way of life and is inherently a part of my community. I hope that this project will help our community continue telling our stories in creative ways and continue the work of intergenerational healing.”

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