No more ‘squash and wigwams’

Hip-hop duo creates Indigenous-themed coloring books


Courtesy photo
“Indigenous Legends” was released last winter just in time for Christmas. It made it’s way to the No. 1 spot on the new release list for Amazon.

What is Native hip-hop duo LightningCloud’s newest project? A new album? No. A new music video? Wrong again. The duo, rappers Crystle Lightning and RedCloud, have created two coloring books, marketed for adults but for all ages, called “Indigenous Legends” and “Indigenous Legends: Extraordinary Native Women.”

The release of the first, “Indigenous Legends,” held the No. 1 spot for new releases on Amazon. While coloring is seen as a children’s activity, it has found its way into the adult market. Over the last year, coloring books made for adults have gone mainstream with different brands releasing their own editions.

Coloring supplies are being made specifically for intricate designs. “Young adults and elders and kids and teenagers are coloring together,” RedCloud said, “because it’s really fun and it’s really creative. We looked to see online to see what coloring books they had for Natives.” They weren’t happy with what they found.

“Everything we saw just made us look ancient,” RedCloud said. “Like we’re primitive and it’s all squash and wigwams.” So the group began the process of creating their own coloring books. “We were, like, ‘You know what? There’s nothing that really represents us.’ And if I don’t do something nobody is going to do it,” he said.

“If I hold my breath, we’re going to die.” So they created “Indigenous Legends” which is an A-to-Z style coloring book that depicts contemporary Native people like MMA fighter Nicco Montaño, artist Steven Paul Judd, author Gyasi Ross and many more.

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Categories: Culture

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