Thank you for coming here so that I can introduce myself. I am Stephanie Big Eagle. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii as a "military brat." My father is Lakota and Dakota Sioux, and my mother is Irish, Norse, and Mohawk.
I was raised with almost no teachings of my Native heritage and culture. I was adopted and raised in a racist and abusive environment, which made me uncomfortable in my brown skin. I was lost in an identity crisis. This lasted until I was 21, when my ancestors started coming into my dreams and showing me beautiful visions. These visions were powerful enough to transform my self-shame and inspired me to reconnect with my family on the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota. At 23, I re-united with my father and relatives after 20 years! I attended my first wacipi, or powwow, and my whole life shifted. I remember watching the fancy shawl dancers, and promising myself that I would dance like that one day! I also remember feeling at home for the first time in my skin as I looked at so many familiar faces with the same darker skin and sharpened features.
One year later, I was gifted my first shawl, and began fancy shawl dancing. It must've been in my blood, because no one taught me, I just watched, then danced, and haven't stopped. Dancing helped heal my soul, and brought me back to my people.
I began to pour myself into our history as Native American people in general. As I became more educated in the injustices our people have faced -- particularly genocide, broken treaties, prisoner of war camps or reservations, boarding schools, the outlawing of cultural practices, and more -- I became both an Environmental and Indigenous Activist. I was honored to stand with many other activists at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline which was forcibly being laid through our treaty territory and which destroyed several sacred sites. It was at this same time that I was taught the ancient practice of traditional handpoke tattoo.
I share my gifts as an artist of many forms with love, gratitude, and respect, particularly for the ancestors who paved the way so that we can still have life today, and for the children who are our bright future.
Check out my debut novel, my memoir, Thunderbird Rising!
Thank you for visiting my site!
~Stephanie Big Eagle
PC: Lucas Zhao Photography,
Graphic Design by Stephanie Big Eagle