Two posters by Ernesto Yerena for Aaron Huey's Pine Ridge Billboard project

Aaron Huey, Shepard Fairey, and Ernesto Yerena Billboard Campaign for Pine Ridge

ICTMN Staff
5/9/11

Photojournalist Aaron Huey has covered the Lakota of Pine Ridge for over six years, and he's now hoping his images can educate the non-Indian masses about the issues on the reservation. To that end, he's enlisted poster artists Shepard Fairey, of Obama "Hope" posters fame, and Ernesto Yerena, who has created iconic images for the cause of immigration reform.

Huey launched a fundraising campaign on a site called Emphas.is with the goal of raising $17,250; on April 28 he met that goal and as of today his project has more than $25,000 of funding. His collaborators have thus far produced three poster designs, and Huey has also devised some billboards himself.

As a journalist turned activist, Huey is seeking to give a better explanation of Pine Ridge than he and his professional colleagues have in the past. “When I first went to Pine Ridge,” he told Time magazine, “the focus was on getting pictures of gangs, superficial violence, drugs and extreme circumstances.” After years of returning and researching, he finally came to understand that today's Lakota are survivors of “a calculated and systematic destruction of a people.”

Huey is acutely aware that, as a non-Indian, he cannot presume to speak for Indians. His aim is to present an assessment of the situation to the rest of America with what he described to PopPhoto.com as "brutal honesty." "I'm going to be more blunt than mainstream media can be," he said, "using text written by Lakota non-profits that includes loaded language like 'genocide‚' and 'prisoner of war camps‚' to describe the reservation system."

Ernesto Yerena poster:
Ernesto Yerena Lakota poster

...based on this Aaron Huey photograph:
Source photo by Aaron Hurey for Ernesto Yerena's Lakota poster

Shepard Fairey's poster:
Shepard Fairey Lakota poster based on photo by Aaron Huey

...based on this Aaron Huey photograph:
source photography by Aaron Huey for Shepard Fairey's Lakota poster

Ernesto Yerena poster:
Lakota girl poster by Ernesto Yerena, based on phot by Aaron Huey

...based on this Aaron Huey photograph:
Lakota Girl Reaching by Aaron Huey, source for Ernesto Yerena's poster

An example of a proposed billboard using one of Aaron Huey's photographs:
proposed billboard using Aaron Huey photograph

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