At Matador, our goal is to help people transform into curious, compassionate, energetic explorers. Part of that mission involves helping people understand the land they choose to traverse — land that, especially in the Americas, was outright stolen from the Indigenous people who lived there originally through colonization, forced relocation, and genocide. The land where we vacation, unwind, hike, swim, explore, and form some of the best memories of our lives is steeped in this disturbing history, but we don’t believe it should be swept under the rug in order to enjoy our travels. On the contrary, “traveling fearlessly” sometimes means confronting a troubling past in order to learn how to treat the communities and cultures you’re visiting with respect and dignity.
That’s why we have compiled a series of stories that illuminate the many complex facets of Indigenous cultures in the Arctic, Hawaii, and many different regions of the United States — from the Diné, or Navajo Nation, which stretches from Arizona to New Mexico, to the Salmon People who live on the Salish Sea. You’ll learn how Inuit women are reclaiming the art of tattooing, the true meaning of the oft-misunderstood Two-Spirit identity, why fishing is so important to tribes of the Pacific Northwest, and how to visit Native American heritage sites in a way that honors Indigenous peoples, rather than ignores or dismisses how foundational their cultures are to the way our world looks today.
While many of these stories recognize the great injustices that have been done to Indigenous peoples, we also celebrate their achievements as farmers and environmental stewards and their rich and varied contributions to artwork, cuisine, and activism. Ultimately, these are stories of joy, of traditions upheld and revived, and of a diverse people reclaiming their rightful place at the center of humanity’s ongoing story. Learn about them with us, and next time you travel to their land, recognize, if only for yourself, who it belonged to before you arrived.