In so many of our Indigenous Creation stories, we are taught histories of gender balance and equity that stem from the beginning of time. Our cultures grew, flourished over time, adapted to changes and lived in balance for thousands of years. After colonization, so much of our lives were thrown out of balance, resulting in health-challenged communities. If we can find our way back to that original balance, we may heal.

This mural was heavily inspired by my partner, Jasha Lyons Echo-Hawk. She is not only the matriarch and strength of our family’s home, but she also works tirelessly to build community. Because of her, our children live in a world where it is simply normal for women to run for office. A visionary justice seeker, she threads together people and programs from a local, tribal, state and national level to work toward balance restoration.

I chose to use ledger style art to reflect the Plains tribes we come from in my home. It signifies a shift in time, when our ancestors first began using other materials to illustrate their stories. I wanted to illustrate the stories of OUR DAYS, of our battles, which now include fighting for a place at the table, for sustainability, for a return of cultural fluency, for clean water, for the protection of our land, and for the protection of our future generations.