I grew up in the Jewish "tribe," steeped in knowledge of the Holocaust. I was fortunate to grow up knowing all of my great grandparents, and at our Passover table, I listened to those who recounted their own journey to freedom from the concentration camps. These experiences of my heritage engendered a deep affinity for other cultures, and in my early twenties, this calling took me to Haiti, then from continent to continent tracking the "ancient ones." Over three decades, I have photographed Indigenous Peoples fighting for their lands, their traditions, their languages, and their very lives against corporate, governmental and missionary interests.
This collection of over 90 photographs has evolved into Dignity: In Honor of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (powerHouse Books; October 2010), a photography book designed to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu states in the foreword, "The Indigenous Peoples have a gift to give that the world needs desperately, this reminder that we are made for harmony, for interdependence. If we are ever to prosper, it will only be together...The work of Dana Gluckstein helps us to truly see, not just appearances, but essences, to see as God sees us, not just the physical form, but also the luminous soul that shines through us."
The "ancient ones" tell us where we have come from and where we must go as a world community. Humanity's survival depends on how carefully we listen, and DIGNITY carries that impassioned call to action in support of Indigenous Peoples.
In honor of the UN's International Day of Indigenous Peoples, please sign a letter to President Obama asking him to endorse UNDRIP. To learn more about this important human rights declaration, visit www.amnestyusa.org.