Pine Ridge Residents Speak to <em>National Geographic</em>
In the August issue of National Geographic, some well known Pine Ridge Indian Reservation residents spoke with the magazine, offering their first hand accounts of what life is like on the reservation, from the historical perspective to the very personal. They will expose National Geographic readers to the realities of life on Pine Ridge in a way only they could.
Oglala Lakota members such as Alex White Plume spoke to the magazine about treaties made and broken in the past, as well as past and current hardships that Pine Ridge endures, from Wounded Knee to teen suicide, from attempted extermination to assimilation.
Olowan Thunder Hawk Martinez, who has become a youth leader on the reservation (she runs the local chapter of the Native Youth Movement, which is a small group dedicated to resistance), speaks about her own struggles, her own attempted suicide, and her path which eventually led her to jail and the transformation she experienced behind bars. She is bracingly open. She considers White Plume a mentor. This feature is as much about her story as it is about White Plume's.
National Geographic will also be hosting stories from Pine Ride via audio files on their website, called "The Voices of Pine Ridge," allowing the Oglala Lakota to speak for themselves. Voices from people such as Arlette Loud Hawk, who spoke about the AIM Resistance and the Lakota warrior spirit; "I walk every year because of my family's belief that we need to stay Lakota all our lives and with the belief that we are warriors. No matter what happens we are going to stand to the end and if it need be sacrifice our lives."
The photos and audio stories were taken by photojournalist Aaron Huey, who worked on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past seven years. Huey recorded 20 audio interviews, each accompanied by his photos. Those stories can he heard here, and are part of a larger project in which Nat Geo has wisely allowed Pine Ridge residents to speak for themselves. In partnership with Cowbird.com, a website that has created a community of storytellers by allowing people to host audio-visual diaries of their lives on the site, Nat Geo has created the "Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project". This collection "tells the story of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, told by the people of Pine Ridge in their own unedited words," as their site explains.
Here's a sampling of the Huey's video work:
Indian Country Today Media Network has reported on a variety of topics surrounding the Pine Ridge Reservation, from deadly diseases and lawsuits against beer companies to economic growth on the reservation. Visit any of the links below to read more about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.