‘Angsty Asdzaa’

Search for identity leads to production of zines


Courtesy photo
“Empower Yoself Before You Wreck Yoself: Native American Feminist Musings Vol. 1” was Amber McCrary’s first ever zine project. She created this zine with her childhood friend Melanie Fey.

Amber McCrary was a teenager growing up in a border town when she discovered zines. “I was really into punk rock as a teenager,” McCrary, who grew up in Flagstaff, said. “Zines are actually part of the punk rock culture and they also call it the DIY (do it yourself) culture where you can do pretty much anything yourself on a cheap budget.”

Zines are self-published small magazines that usually contain art, photographs, poems and other types of writing. “I decided to do my own zine because growing up I didn’t see a lot of representation of who I was,” McCrary said. “I knew I’m a Native American girl but I was going through these weird identity crisis phases where I don’t really know who I really am. But I know I like reading and I know I like artsy things.”

So she created her first series of zines with her friend Melanie Fey with whom she grew up with in Flagstaff. “I never really saw my narrative out there,” she said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of narrative for nerdy punk rock Native girls.” The first zine project she worked on was called “Native American Feminist Musing.”

The first issue of that project was called “Empower Yo’Self Before You Wreck Yo’Self: Volume 1.” “I wanted to write like I was writing to 16-year-old Amber,” she said. “Like what is something that she would like to hear from someone that’s older? Someone that has experienced more. Someone that’s has struggled but is like finding a way to be grounded in who she is as an Indigenous woman.”

This project would eventually contain work and art from Indigenous women across the country. The pair encouraged women to submit their work to be included in this project.


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Categories: Community

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah