Design Credit For Both Photos: Vanessa Acosta

Written By: The We Take Note Crew

Joey Montoya is a Lipan Apache from Texas, but was born and raised in San Francisco. In December 2012 he started Urban Native Era — a brand focusing on spreading awareness about Indigenous issues through creative means. They do this by helping Indigenous communities reclaim their traditional knowledge and identity.

With Halloween fast-approaching, Urban Native Era created an initiative about the culturally-insensitive costumes that fill our streets and social media feeds this time of year. People often wear faux Indigenous outfits, but don't realize the ramifications they cause in our society. By using this community's culture as a costume, it diminishes the time they spent defending Standing Rock. Instead, we should praise these freedom fighters and respect their heritage. 

Montoya is a recent Advertising graduate of San Jose State University and he continues to increase visibility for his community through Urban Native EraCurrently, he is part of the planning team for an Indigenous film and storytelling program that plans to provide Indigenous youth with an opportunity to tell their stories their way. This pilot program will launch March 2018 in Southern California. We're actually working on another project with Montoya that's slated to happen in Los Angeles around the same time as his youth program. It will be a health & wellness initiative featuring some prominent names in the music and activist community. 

Email us at if you're interested in being involved in our initiative as well.