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Published: 5/16/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Artist in Perryburg touring 1st Nation

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Matika Wilbur, center, greets attendees of her talk after speaking about her experiences photographing Native Americans during a lecture. Matika Wilbur, center, greets attendees of her talk after speaking about her experiences photographing Native Americans during a lecture.
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Photographer and artist Matika Wilbur made a stop in Perrysburg on Thursday night in between visiting all 562 federally recognized Native American tribes.

She was at River House Arts in Perrysburg sharing stories and photos of Native Americans throughout America. Her photography exhibit will be there until June 10, and items in the exhibit are being sold for the first time. 

Ms. Wilbur is a member of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes in the state of Washington.She said she was discouraged with the mass media's negative view toward Native Americans and lowering the self-esteem of their children so she wanted to capture the true essence and beauty of Native American culture. 

"I want people to understand the contemporary Indian identity," she said.

Vicki Marsh, of Maumee, takes a look at several pieces by photographer Matika Wilbur. Vicki Marsh, of Maumee, takes a look at several pieces by photographer Matika Wilbur.
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PHOTO GALLERY: Exhibit of photos by Matika Wilbur

She told stories to visitors at the gallery about a mother with facial tribe tattoos holding her daughter. Other stories she shared included giggling old ladies she took photos of, a man that fought for the right for Indians to fish and hunt, and the difficulties of getting a photo of a woman lying down in a boat. 

"People think all Indians know how to paddle," Ms. Wilbur joked. "She lost a paddle, then got help and I was able to snap a few photos."

The photos depicted an aerial view from a bridge looking down at an Indian woman lying still in a canoe. Ms. Wilbur said she had to get that photo because she kept dreaming about it.

Paula Baldoni and Bill Jordan, the owners of River House Arts, thought Ms. Wilbur's exhibit would go great in recognizing the 200th anniversary of the battles that occurred in this region during the War of 1812. 

Matika Wilbur, right, speaks to a packed room about her experiences photographing indigenous people in America during a lecture at the River House Arts Gallery. Matika Wilbur, right, speaks to a packed room about her experiences photographing indigenous people in America during a lecture at the River House Arts Gallery.
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

"When those battles turned in favor for the U.S. it also started the change in policies toward indigenous people," Ms. Baldoni said. "We're really excited to have her here. Bill Jordan is a photojournalist so we have a high bar for photography and we both really liked her work."

After Ms. Wilbur was done meeting people and talking about her work at River House Arts she is heading out to continue visiting tribes. She has already visited 90 tribes; she next heads to the Haulapai Tribe in the Grand Canyon.

Ms. Wilbur's photos and blog can be seen at MatikaWilbur.com.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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