Collaborators’ Q&A: How did this image come to be? Artist Donna R. Charging: The iconography of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars movie feeding her group’s rebel reconnaissance info to R2D2 takes up a permanent space in my mind. I wanted to mash that up with the idea of Bambi as a living deer, as if R2D2 were a living, sentient being. The “puppet strings” referred to by the writer are not strings at all but lines representing infusions of Universal life energy where everything is connected. This is something I have used throughout my artwork in the past. How did this poem come to be? Poet Alica Mteuzi: The poem was inspired by my own experiences and observations concerning how Native identity is often externally defined. I wanted to assert the autonomy of Native Peoples in defining our own identities, breaking away from non-Native perspectives.
Artist Donna R. Charging is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara). Her mother is Eastern Shoshone. Donna grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming and lives in Louisville, KY. In 2023, she was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Pro-Black & Pro-IP Writer & Director Alica “Sheyahshe” Mteuzi (Black, Caddo, Cheyenne & Arapaho) is a filmmaker whose work emphasizes Black and Native experiences, projecting them into alternative pasts, transformative presents, and imagined futures through film.