One night, after a day spent photographing Indigenous corn farmers high up in the Andes mountains, Matika Wilbur was visited by her grandmother in a dream.”Oh, sweetheart,” her grandmother, who died when Wilbur was 11 said, “What are you doing here working with these people, when you haven’t even worked with your own? Go home. Help your people. Be who you were born to be.”

Wilbur was interning for a nonprofit in South America—thousands of miles away from her family’s land on the Swinomish Reservation, a Native American community of 2,500 just north of Seattle. She awoke with a start and began to cry. “That’s a really strong statement in Indian country… ‘Be who you were born to be,’ ” Wilbur, now 35, says. “We’re not born into this world without purpose… I knew I needed to go home.”




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