About the Skin(s) Project

Skin(s) from rosy simas danse on Vimeo.

The Skin(s) project was inspired by Rosy Simas’ visits with other Native people in cities and rural areas in the U.S. and Canada during the touring of her other works. Native people are visible to each other but mostly invisible to the wider population. Because of this invisibility, the vast diversity of Native identity of Turtle Island is not as known to our fellow Americans. This lack of knowledge, this lack of understand by the greater population of where they are (the land they are on and whose territory it is) is a part of how misconceptions and stereotypes of Native people continue to dominate ideas about who Native people are. It isn’t the Indigenous Native people of Turtle Island who are displaced or lack understand of a connection to this land, it is non-Native people who remain ignorant about where they are and keep themselves displaced.
There are 567 federally recognized tribes, and thousands of Native people identifying in multiple ways – defining for themselves who they are.
Simas larger Skin(s) project is multi-faceted in order to demonstrate the multitude of ways contemporary Native people view themselves in the world. In addition to her dance, Skin(s) was also a visual art exhibit and  a short film Skin Frequencies shot in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Chicago, Evanston and Minneapolis.
Skin(s) is also this web based media project skinskins.com where Native people can submit videos and sound recordings of how they identify and where they call home. The purpose is to share with other Native people and the rest of the world the diversity of how Native people identify. Skinsskins.com will continue to evolve over the years.
Skin(s) the dance will next be seen in October 2017 at EastSide Arts Alliance in the LiveArts In Resistanceseries, in December 2017 at Northwestern University, and in February 2018 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
“I am Native, I am Seneca, I am also a dancemaker. This is what makes my work Native. This is what makes my dance about Native identity. Because just simply being a Native dancemaker is political. It is my continual embodied political act of creating more visibility of Native people. My Skin(s) dance is a multi-dimensional moving image. It is ever evolving and will shift and change in each location it travels to: Duluth, Berkeley, Oakland, Chicago, Evanston, Riverside. It will accumulate stories and emotions. It will carry those into each new iteration of the work. Skin(s) right now is a dance of sensing… sensing the visible and invisible. It is a dance literally informed by skin, what we hold in our skin, what we reveal, what we sense and how it carries us through the world.”
“The Skin(s) project is dedicated to the memory of Roger Buffalohead (Ponca). Roger was a Native scholar, educator and a historian. Throughout his life he was dedicated to Native education and helping Native students earn higher education degrees at a time when this seemed impossible to many. He taught me many things in subtle ways that I didn’t realize until I was in my 40s. I carry in all that I do his care and love for me and for Native American people.” – Rosy Simas