This November, the National Museum of the American Indian is proud to showcase the work of three Indigenous photojournalists at its museum in New York. In the “Developing Stories: Native Photojournalists in the Field” exhibition, Russel Albert Daniels (Ho-Chunk/Diné) looks at the troubled Indigenous and Hispanic origins of the Genízaro Pueblo of Abiquiú in New Mexico, Tailyr Irvine (Salish and Kootenai) dives into the complicated consequences of the “blood quantum” system the United States imposed on American Indian tribes and Donovan Quintero (Diné) shares a view of his Navajo Nation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is far from over, and while many first responders have fallen since it began, those on the front lines continue to serve their communities and country. In a poignant image Quintero took during his work covering the epidemic for his newspaper, the Navajo Times–Diné bi Naaltsoos, the Navajo Nation Police Honor Guard carry the casket of their comrade, the first Arizona police officer to die in the line of duty from COVID-19.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Navajo Nation in March 2020, I knew at that moment the lives of the Diné would change forever,” Quintero said. “I had to quickly come to grips with whether or not I would be documenting this new terrible and frightening era in human history. I decided it was necessary.”
“The National Museum of the American Indian conceived the ‘Developing Stories’ series to provide a platform for Native photojournalists’ thought-provoking stories exploring contemporary social issues,” said exhibition curator Cécile Ganteaume. “Each photographer reported with great insight and clarity and captured compelling imagery.” Visit AmericanIndian.si.edu/developingstories.