Ernesto Yerena & Mercedez Zapata
Reclaim Indigenous Roots
El Centro, CA
I had the honor of collaborating with amazing photographer @mercedes_zapata and my Yaqui friend Amanda @amaanda.g (who is also from the Imperial Valley, CA) to create this billboard design. The billboard will be installed right at the border of El Centro & Imperial which are the two towns I grew up in. I wanted to create a image that talked about what Land Back means to me in a way that is accessible to my community back home. Most of us are “mestizo” people or mixed if you will and most folks in the Valley do not recognize any of their Indigenous Roots let alone reclaim them. This billboard is for them to serve as a reminder and invitation to seek out and learn about their Indigenous Roots and what it means to have a relationship to Mother Earth and all our living relatives within the Indigenous perspective. Most of us have lost connection to traditional ways due to 500 years of colonization, theft of land and the assimilation forced upon the Catholic Church. So when I think of Land Back we have to start with our selves, our minds, our spirits, because if we don’t know who we are then how will we ever get #LandBack. This image is about the joy and peace ones heart can experience when you know yourself and are in a place where you could truly practice self determination. We may not be there yet but one can dream.