Jason Sinn Photography

is creating photographs of modern Native American culture and struggles
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My first rule for funding Unbroken: Native Americans Today is that I will never use paywalls or tiers to gate you off from content. The reason? Because we are all brothers and sisters and we all deserve to share or cultures, learn and grow together. 


If you love the idea of this project, and want to support its growth and continuation, please chip in! Whether you donate $1 or $100, you are helping create better representation and concern for Native American rights in a massive way!

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$4

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About Jason Sinn Photography

Hello! My name is Jason Sinn and I am a 29 year-old photographer based in San Francisco, California. Over the last few months I have been working on a unique photography project titled "Unbroken: Native Americans Today", which is a long-term gallery that focuses on modern Native American culture and the difficulties that Native Americans face in today's society. Through this project, I have photographed and interviewed dozens of Native American people - offering a new platform where they can share their perspectives and teach us lessons through their faces and words - and with your help, I hope to expand this project to where I can visit multiple Native peoples,tribes, and organizations all across the country.

To check out the project, please click here:
www.jasonsinnphotography.com/Unbroken-Native-Americans-Today




Why am I Doing This Project?

It's no secret that Native Americans have been treated horrifically throughout North American history. Their land was taken, thousands of their people were killed or forced into slavery, and there were numerous organized attempts to destroy their culture. Today the struggles for Native Americans only continue, with many trying to reconnect with their culture and languages, as well as attempting to regain their ancestral lands and grave sites of which many are deeply connected to through their culture, identity, and way of life.



In today's American society: media sources, politicians, and sadly a large portion of the public tend to turn a blind eye to Native issues and believe that we cannot do anything to help. But in my opinion, they deserve much better. The biggest danger for Native Americans in today's society is being devalued and forgotten, and we as fellow human beings - as brothers and sisters - can not let that happen. We must stand by their sides and listen.



What are the Goals of this Project?


1.) To Share Native American Culture in a Modern Light 


Most people in North America are far behind when it comes to understanding modern Native Americans, and a huge part of that is because we view their culture through inaccurate sources. We learn about their culture through outdated images from the 1800's, culturally demeaning depictions seen in sports mascots and Halloween costumes, and stereotypical roles found in Old Western movies. This has brought many people to view Native Americans as relics of the past or as a novelty for entertainment, which in turn has made their culture appear as less important or not being a part of current society.

The fact of the matter is, Native Americans are constantly involved in our world and their culture (which is very much alive, strong, and still evolving today) could teach us many heartfelt and valuable lessons. It is only fair that we renew our sources, refresh our perspectives, and learn about this deeply inspiring culture in a modern light. 





2.) To Bring Awareness to Current Native American Struggles


Most of the situations that Native Americans face today are serious, ranging from loss of culture, to high suicide rates, to the reality of having to live in a world of unlawful dispossession, and although their efforts to bring attention to these issues deserve widespread concern, they are rarely discussed by others or given thorough media coverage. This has directly harmed Native Americans by censoring their voices and hiding their hardships from the public eye. 

Unbroken:Native Americans Today aims to fix this problem by unapologetically keeping these struggles within the focus of every picture taken. With each person that I photograph, I ask them to openly share their sincerest thoughts and to talk about some of the most difficult experiences they've had to endure. What does it feel like to be a Native American today? What was it like to be taken from your family and being placed into a boarding school? How does it feel to be both a Native American and a U.S. Army Veteran? 


"Children were forcefully taken away from their parents by the government agents to be put in the schools and I was 9 years old when I was taken. I lost my right-eye at that school when another student stabbed me with a pencil...I had to be on guard most of the time. The teachers pushed Christianity and we were punished for speaking our own language and we'd get beaten with belts and paddles if they caught us. We grew up not knowing our language or our culture. It's a trauma I'll never forget. I even dream about it - Almost like going through a battlefield. But I've learned to forgive."

"Being a Native American and a [military] veteran is complicated. Some people look at it like you're defending their land, but it has always been our land."

Through these interviews, we bring awareness to crucial topics that can no longer be avoided or censored. It is a rare opportunity to learn directly from the faces and words of Native Americans themselves. 


3.) To Visit Native American Nations, Organizations, and Demonstrations Across North America


Unknown to many, there are thousands of Native American cultural gatherings, demonstrations, and protests happening across North America every year. Each one of these events plays an important part in the combined effort to re-establish Native American economic independence, revitalize their traditional culture, and restore their lands - and in order for us to accurately learn from today's Native American movement, I must visit and photograph as many of these events and organizations as I can. So far I have visited a few key events in California and through Unbroken: Native Americans Today I aim to broaden my travel to where I can visit dozens of them across the country each year. 


A Native elder shares his stories and prayers during the Indigenous People's Day Sunrise Ceremony at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. The event commemorates the survival of Native American peoples following colonialism and also brings attention to many of the atrocities that Native Americans have faced.


Thousands of people gather on Alcatraz Island (San Francisco) for the Indigenous People's Day Sunrise Ceremony. 

Another crucial goal in Unbroken: Native Americans Today is for me to visit various Native American Reservations found across North America. Most of these reservations are located in remote locations, and some of the most critical situations that Native American communities are facing today can be found inside. Poor quality housing, underfunded schools, and poverty are only a few of the situations the residents must deal with, and to make matters worse, some of these reservations are continuing to be fragmented, stripped of their land, and exploited by both the government and larger corporations for natural resources. These situations must be shown publicly in order to understand the full extent of harm that is being brought to Native Americans today.


Two young brothers visiting D-Q University (a former Native American college) read one of the many faded art murals found throughout the campus. Murals like these are an invaluable opportunity for younger generations to learn from and reconnect with their heritage.


"A lot of the people that come here (to D-Q University) have the same story as I. A lot of us are trying to reconnect and decolonize."

Here's Where I Need Your Help

Traveling across the country to various Native American nations, conducting in-depth individual interviews and creating impactful, high quality photos will be an expensive and time consuming process. I'll need to eat, will have periodic hotel or camping costs, will have an inevitable photo equipment repair or flat tire, and I will also need to maintain my regular expenses like paying my rent during the weeks that I am away. With my personal income I cannot afford to do this all on my own, but with your help, I can fully commit my time and efforts to this project. THANK YOU so much to any and all who donate! This project is my life calling and you have my sincerest gratitude in helping me along this journey. 

All additional funds that exceed the expenses needed for monthly goals will be donated to the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA). The AAIA is a non-profit organization that has played an integral part in the defense of Native Americans since 1922. They have helped create numerous laws that protect Native American rights, helped preserve Native American lands, and have improved the quality of life for Native Americans in the United States. If you would like to learn more, visit: www.indian-affairs.org



Other Ways You Can Support

If you are unable to donate, then there are still many other appreciated ways that you can contribute. If you like the project then please share this Patreon campaign with all your friends, family and loved ones. Also, please share the social media links below. Simply getting the word out can be a massive help!

If you are a representative from a Native American nation or organization and would like to be featured in the project, please contact me though my e-mail listed below. 

Let's Stay in Touch

Jason Sinn Photography
Website: www.jasonsinnphotography.com/Unbroken-Native-Americans-Today
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasonsinnphotography
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jason_sinn_photography/
Goals
$4 of $500 per month
Help me visit Native organizations in Northern California

With this goal achieved, I will be able to visit and photograph multiple Native American organizations and events located in Northern California each month. The first organizations that I would like to feature are the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, the American Indian Movement West based in San Francisco, and D-Q University based outside of Davis. I will also be able to expand my travel to more Pow wows, events, and protests. This funding will help me pay for gas, food, hotel rooms, bridge tolls, and more.
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