SANDIA PUEBLO, N.M. (KRQE) – A professional dancer from the Sandia Pueblo reached out to some of the biggest fashion magazines, suggesting they include more indigenous women in their content. The response she got shocked her.

Ria Thundercloud says she was tired of the way Native American women were represented in media.

With the help of Glamour Magazine, she was able to spread her wings, to show off her culture.

“What I’m about to share is an indigenous contemporary eagle dance that evolved with my own personal journey. This eagle dance represents resiliency, strength, and beauty,” says Thundercloud in a video shot with Glamour.

Thundercloud is a Sandia Pueblo native and of the Ho-Chunk nation.

Her eagle dance is something she’s been wanting to share with the world, to teach people about her Native American roots.

This year, she got an opportunity to do that.

“Made it a point to point out that indigenous women, especially Native women, are never represented in these magazines,” she says.

After reaching out to some of the biggest fashion magazines, Glamour gave the 27-year-old a platform to tell her story in their ‘solidarity issue.’

Thundercloud says she wanted to change the stigma behind native indigenous women.

“The only time Native Americans were brought had to do with being conquered, savagery, a bunch of negative notations about Native Americans,” she says.

She talks about everything from struggling as the only Native American in her La Cueva High School classroom, to the story behind her native dress.

Thundercloud says the goal is to send a positive message about her culture to the world.

“Indigenous women are very smart. They come in all forms: dancers, lawyers, doctors, and I just wanted that to be represented in the media for once,” she says.

A thought that so many stand behind.

“The most amazing thing that happened was the support I got from all indigenous communities across the U.S.,” she says.

Thundercloud shot that dance video with Glamour back in March. She says part of her dress she wore for the shoot took two years to bead, by hand.

She is now studying at the Institute of American Indian Arts and wants to open an indigenous dance company once she graduates.


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