Matika Wilbur was raised in the Swinomish tribal community, and she is enrolled in the Tulalip Tribe, where she currently lives with her husband and baby. She integrates fine art and social justice as a long-form photo documentarian, writer, filmmaker, podcaster, and public speaker. She is the founder and photographer of Project 562, a documentary project dedicated to changing the way we see Native America.
After earning her BFA from Brooks Institute of Photography, Wilbur began her career in fashion and commercial photography in Los Angeles. But she quickly decided to instead use photography as a tool for social justice. Project 562 is Wilbur’s fourth major creative project elevating Native American identity and culture. Her first project captured portraits of Coast Salish elders for We Are One People (2004, Seattle Art Museum), then We Emerge (2008, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture), which featured Native people in contemporary urban and traditional settings, followed by Save the Indian and Kill the Man (2012, Tacoma Art Museum), which addressed the forced cultural assimilation of Native Peoples.
Since 2015, Wilbur has offered more than 300 keynote speeches at institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Google, the National Education Association, and TED. She is a National Geographic Explorer and recipient of the distinguished Leica Photo Award. She cohosts the popular Native issues podcast All My Relations, which invites guests to explore the connections between land, creatural relatives, and one another.