“People realize that Native Americans are not relics of the past. We are still here,” said Deb Haaland, American Politician.

Deb Haaland was one of the few Native American leaders to support a local photographer’s vision, as he highlights Northern Plains Native Americans.

Haaland is one of the first Native American women elected to U.S. Congress. She was elected in the 2018 midterm election to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. It’s her mission to be a voice for Native Americans by involving them in decision making.

“I have worked very hard since I have been there to ensure that tribal leaders have a say in issues we are talking about such as public lands, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women. We brought tribal leaders and native leaders in those fields to the table. So, we can learn more from their perspective,” said Haaland.

Haaland isn’t the only one with this goal, people from across the state came to support Shane Balkowitsch in the release of his first book “Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective.” His book proves a picture is worth a thousand words.

“It’s a picture book. I am not here to write words for the Native American culture, I am here to take sincere pictures of them to take with future generations,” said Balkowitsch.

“His project is to photograph one thousand Native Americans. That is an amazing project to work on. I think it is very wonderful also that the state of North Dakota recognizes that his project is worthy,” said Haaland.

Haaland believes this is just a start in making sure tribes aren’t neglected, and that they are receiving all the help they need to survive.

Proceeds from the book sales are going to benefit the American Indian college fund.