Standing Rock, 9.16

In late September, 2016, I had the great good fortune to spend four days at Standing Rock Seven Fires Camp in Cannon Ball, ND, driving from Chicago with a member of the Standing Rock protesters legal defense team. It was an extraordinary experience, perhaps the greatest thing I’ve witnessed or been part of in my life.

There are four separate camps along the Cannon Ball River, and I visited three, photographing two of them. These pictures, most from the main Seven Fires camp, are mere glimpses, stolen from a great whole, which cannot start to express the beauty and peace that’s there: the sounds of the wind, which blew nearly constantly, and crickets, the voices of people, horses, and dogs, of wood cut and fires burning, of many singers and drums.

There’s a lot I did not photograph. Pictures of ceremonies and sacred places are strictly forbidden, as was any photography at the Red Warrior camp. I have not posted anything that might betray organizing plans or leadership. The portraits here are of people I had some connection to before asking them to pose. I did not stop anyone just to take their picture.

Let me say here that the friendship, generosity, respect, and goodwill I felt among everyone at Standing Rock for every minute I was there is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Something amazing is happening among the many people and tribes there, something which the rest of the country would do well to notice and heed.