Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

"To Indigenize the Western World"—Artist and Organizer Jordan Cocker

Jordan Cocker describes herself as “Indigenous in two ways—as Native American from the Southern Plains, K’gou màyí, a Kiowa woman; and as Pasifika, a Tongan woman.” Thinking of herself “in halves,” however, doesn't reflect her lived experience. “The years spent on and between my two ancestral territories,” she says, “braided together my two lines in a good way. Everything is about the ancestors—who they are by name, what they did, where they went, and the legacy that they created and passed down to me. My ancestors on both sides of my family survived colonization, boarding school, and so many other types of trauma so that I can live in a good way.” The museum’s Dennis Zotigh interviews Jordan for Asian American Pacific Heritage Month.