Respectful Design: With Sadie Red Wing

Two events proudly supported and co-sponsored by the students at the School of Art, at the University of Manitoba, SoFA.

Revitalizing Indigenous Perspective in Design

Friday, 4 October 2019
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM CDT
Urban Shaman Inc.,
290 McDermot Avenue,
Winnipeg, MB R3B 0T2

FUCK THE STEREOTYPE: Describing the perspective of Indigenous ideology in visual communication is very challenging—especially to an audience who does not understand the harm of cultural appropriation. Indigenous sensitivity to appropriation is not taken into consideration when designing for representational material or identifying a traditional presence in the common world. Native Americans rely on stereotypes to distinguish themselves from other cultures. The struggle to display an accurate tribal identity derives from oppression and historical trauma through western education. American Indian boarding schools erased the traditional image of a Native American that left tribal students uncertain of who they were as people.

As Indigenous peoples progress from the American Indian Boarding School era, the urge to distinct tribes from Pan-Indianism forces a greater responsibility from indigenous designers to visually communicate sovereignty. The role of an indigenous visual communicator requires the practice of visual sovereignty, or decolonizing the stereotypical representation into a traditional image for cultural education. Indigenous visual communicators have the power to give Native Americans a respected-face in the world by revealing tribal visual languages in visual communication. The rising movement of visual sovereignty in indigenous visual communication has revolutionized a new fight against stereotypes and continues to revitalize an honorable image away from the subordinate portrayal of indigenous peoples.

Presentation Objectives

  • How the eras of American Indian boarding schools, Hollywood’s Westerns, Pan-Indianism, American Indian Movement, and the Seventh Generation shaped the ethics of Indigenous perspective in visual communication.
  • The importance of a decolonizing tribal identity in visual communication for Native and Non-Native audiences.
  • Why visual communication requires practices of decolonization, visual sovereignty, and repatriation to accurately portray an indigenous perspective in media.

Buy lecture tickets: Eventbrite
Ticket by donation to the Cheryl Lynn Rutledge Northern Indigenous Student Award, part of the Graphic Designs of Canada Foundation, minus processing fees.

Respectful Design

Saturday, 5 October 2019 
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM CDT
ARTlab, University of Manitoba,
180 Dafoe Road West,
Winnipeg, MB R3T 6B3

Participants will incorporate ideas and new knowledge from the presentation into the design of new tribal flags. With an emphasis on her concept of visual sovereignty, Sadie will help participants to identify stereotypical signs, symbols and images on existing tribal flags in order to redesign flag that are visually respectful to tribal culture, language and cosmologies.

Goals of the Workshop

  • Participants will understand the differences between visual sovereignty and stereotypical signs when addressing sovereign nation representation
  • Participants will practice appropriate, respectful, and accurate visual representation methods when designing for an indigenous audience
  • Participants will develop greater terminology when practicing visual sovereign messaging, community-based design, and designing for future generations.
  • Understand what it means to be an underrepresented or underserved designer
  • Develop a better language when addressing the lack of diversity in a workspace
  • Relating an indigenous perspective in design to other underrepresented perspectives in design
  • Introduce the concept of “decolonization” in design

Buy workshop tickets: Eventbrite

About Sadie Red Wing
Sadie Red Wing ( is a Lakota graphic designer and advocate from the Spirit Lake Nation of Fort Totten, North Dakota. Red Wing earned her BFA in New Media Arts and Interactive Design at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She received her Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University. Her research on cultural revitalization through design tools and strategies created a new demand for tribal competence in graphic design research. Red Wing urges Native American graphic designers to express visual sovereignty in their design work, as well as, encourages academia to include an indigenous perspective in design curriculum.
Her work has been featured on AIGA’s Eye on Design: “Why Can’t the U.S. Decolonize Its Design Education?” (2017), Communication Arts: “Decolonizing Native American Design” (2017), and The World Policy Journal: “United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” (2018).