Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 1, 2012.


Our goal is to create a publication, exhibition, and lecture series documenting all 562 Tribes in the United States.

My name is Matika Wilbur, I am from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribe, and I'm a photographer. 

My goal is to unveil the true essence of contemporary Native issues, the beauty of Native culture, the magnitude of tradition, and expose her vitality. Did you know that there are 562* Federally recognized Tribal Nations in the United States?  My goal is to create a publication and exhibition representing  Native people from every tribe. But really, the ultimate goal is education. If you support our kickstarter, then together we can move a step closer toward abolishing negative stereotypes, honoring tradition, and leaving legacy.

Walk The Red Road
Walk The Red Road

On The Road

Starting in December of 2012, I will be hitting the road, … I will begin in Washington State, and work my way South through Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, until I have visited all 52 states, all 562 Federally Recognized Tribes in this nation. I will travel in my RV, fully equipped with a photographic studio, darkroom and sleeping quarters.

With Your Support...

 If I have the honor of receiving your donation, I will use your funds for travel expenses, for film and dark-room supplies; and for website development. Every contribution is deeply appreciated, even if it’s only a few dollars— that few dollars may get us another gallon of gas, which will get us a few miles closer to the next tribe. So Thank-you for your time, and for your generosity; I am so grateful that you had a look!

About KickStarter

Kickstarter is an all or nothing kind of gal.... either you raise all of your goal, and you get to receive your pledges, or you don't reach your goal, and you don't get anything.... 

About Matika

Matika Wilbur is a member of the Tulalip Tribe. She was raised on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in Washington State, graduated from La Conner high school, studied photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Montana and the Brooks Institute of Photography in California. She has exhibited extensively in region, national, and international venues such as the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Seattle Art Museum, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and the Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound.

Wilbur's work contends with how Native peoples shape a sense of identity in the face of cultural dualities; how a hybrid sense of identity that honors one's cultural heritage and connects to contemporary, pop culture. She says, "My name, Matika, means the messenger, and throughout my life, I have been groomed to approach the politics of our society differently-- I am to influence social change not as a politician, but as an artist. These projects are important because questions are being asked and documented that might otherwise be overlooked. It is the intimacy of the studio, the presence of the camera and connection that the subject feels with me that allows the honesty and vulnerability to be present in every image. I have grown tremendously from visiting the wisdom of my culture, and I believe that everybody that views these images will have this truth. These images will leave a legacy that will be remembered for many years to come. "

Wilbur's honest, emotionally complex photographs provide a means of reconciling, reckoning, and continually revisiting this question.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

There are several potential challenges with a project of this nature; our main concern is the amount of ground that we actually have to cover in the time frame. We have 1,095 days to complete this project; which means we need to visit about four different tribes per week to finish shooting by August of 2015. We also plan on visiting several potlatches, pow-wow's and gatherings to exponentiate our numbers. 562 is broken down into four phases:

Phase 1: Pre-Production (current stage)
1) Gain Support of Tribal Communities, Educators and Museums

• I am currently creating a $15,000 proposal for Tulalip’s Charitable Contribution Fund, and will submit in the month of November.

• I have gained the support of The Seattle Art Museum, The Burke Museum of Natural History and The Tacoma Art Museum; with tentative exhibit dates in the year of 2015.

3) Fund Raise $70,000 for Production Phase
•To date we have raised $16,000.
• We've also applied for the Native Arts and Culture Foundation grant, and intend to apply for the Potlatch Fund.

4) Plan Expedition and Reach out to Tribal Communities we plan to visit
• This is the most challenging of all, which is finding people to work with all over the United States and let them know we are coming.

Phase 2: Production, December of 2012 – August of 2014
1) Visit all 562 Tribes.

2) With gained momentum and material I will continue fundraising for the following years of travel.

Phase 3: Post-Production, Fall of 2015
1) Edit and Print Photographs
2) Create Curriculum
3) Develop Book
5) Curate Exhibit
6) Fundraise
7) Create Marketing Materials

Phase 4: Final Stage- Exhibition
Exhibit Photographs.


  • My intention is not to be exclusive... the number 562, is a "jumping off point", if you will. I do not plan on limiting myself exclusively to federally recognized tribes; for a variety of reasons -- adverse federal court decisions, the plenary power of Congress, being landless -- it is tougher for these un-recognized tribes which do not have the legal history of the "treaty tribes", and I am not a stranger to that struggle. However, most people don't know that there are 562 federally recognized tribes (which has changed to 566 in the last few years), and it has been my observation that the general stereo-type is that we haven't survived. And so, giving power to a number was important to me- even though finding an accurate number is difficult, given the ever changing political climate. It's so complex...

    Last updated:
pledged of $30,000 goal
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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    201 backers

    You'll receive a digital copy of the “562” book, optimized for iPad and other devices.

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    105 backers

    You'll receive a set of 10 printed postcards featuring images from the "562" project, plus a digital copy of the book.

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    15 backers Limited (15 left of 30)

    You'll receive a digital copy of the “562” book, optimized for iPad and other devices as well as 2013 Calendar of the Paddle to Swinomish.

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    41 backers

    You'll receive a limited edition "562" exhibition poster, a set of 10 printed postcards featuring images from the 562 project, plus a digital copy of the book.

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    97 backers

    You'll receive the 562 hardcover art book, a limited edition 562 exhibition poster, a digital copy of the book, and the postcard set! Includes shipping worldwide.

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    32 backers

    Your name will be acknowledged in the special thanks section of the book; and you'll receive the 562 hardcover art book signed by Matika Wilbur, a limited edition 562 exhibition poster, a digital copy of the book, and the postcard set! Includes shipping worldwide.

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    1 backer

    You'll receive the 562 hardcover art book, and an original signed 20”x24” print from the 562 exhibition. There will be several different images to choose from, each from an edition of 3, and earlier backers will have priority in selecting which image they’d like. Your name will also appear in the special thanks section in the book, and you’ll receive invites for two to a private reception with the artist at the exhibition opening at The Tacoma Art Museum.

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    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    A day in the life of Matika: Come on the road with Matika for 2 days as she explores Indian Country, and be a part of making photographic history. (we'll figure out which day works best for your schedule) This reward is for one person, and doesn't include travel expenses. You'll also receive the rewards of the $1500 level.

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Funding period

- (31 days)