The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Pictures speak louder than words

Photo Courtesy Francisco Dominguez
Photo Courtesy Francisco Dominguez

The Cultural Awareness Center was packed wall to wall as photos of oppressed Native Americans were beamed life-size on to the projector screen. Students sat back in awe of the heartbreaking struggles being depicted.

Students and faculty alike came to witness the “Indigenous People without Borders” photo presentation Nov. 4 by local activist and photographer Francisco Dominguez.

“I’ve never shown these pictures before,” Dominguez says. “This is history.”

The presentation was a service-learning project for a student in Tammy Cheshire’s Native American studies class. According to Cheshire, her student organized the entire event as a project to inform students of native issues.

Dominguez was a former City College student and president of the Native American Culture Club in 1984-85. He has been capturing the struggles of Native Americans through photographs for 21 years.

“We have taken our culture on the road,” Dominguez says. “We are saying we’ve had it, we’ve had enough of this.”

The students in attendance sat in silence while they were captivated by the fear and pain in the eyes of the subjects being photographed in candid action shots.

As a photo of little girls in a Guatemalan field appeared on the screen, a tragic tone overcame Dominguez as he recalled what he describes as “one of the saddest days of my life.

“They kept asking if they could go home with me to America because they had no parents and no family,” Dominguez says. “I had to say no.”
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Dominguez passionately reiterated his message of fighting for Native American rights and causes throughout his presentation.

“We need to bring awareness to the sacred sites,” Dominguez says. “This land is only sacred to the native people and we need to make it known.”

At the end of his presentation, he pointed out his favorite photograph of a young indigenous girl at a Pasadena protest of Columbus Day.

“Her sign reads ‘Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 bringing slavery, hunger, and rape’, and she is right and this picture is so powerful,” Dominguez says.

The question-and-answer session brought light to options and opportunities that Native Americans have.

Emma Snuggs, public information officer for City College’s Indigenous Peoples club, pointed out the action the Obama administration is taking to further the rights of Natives across the country by addressing the issues of healthcare, crime, development, education and environmental problems.

“Anything Obama does for Natives is a step forward from Bush. He should be in jail for war crimes,” Domiguez says.

City College student Demond Richardson concluded the session with his thought-provoking question that inspired everyone in attendance and encouraged the members of the Indigenous People’s club that they are making a difference.

“What can someone like me do to help the Native people?” which was answered by Snuggs with “Join the Indigenous People’s club.”

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