ABOUT THE BOOK
In this powerful new book of photographs, Aaron Huey portrays both the broken social landscape and the ceremonial warrior culture of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This body of work goes far beyond the obvious poverty and into the world of the tribe’s visions and dreams. It is a witness to both the dark and the light, and is intentionally presented as more of a prayer or poem than documentary. The book begins and ends with a traditional Lakota prayer, suggesting that the intervening images may be analogous to a transformative ceremonial experience.
The Pine Ridge Reservation, located 75 miles south east of the Black Hills in South Dakota, is sometimes referred to as Prisoner of War Camp #344, and is now the home of the Oglala Lakota. Sadly, Pine Ridge is now the quintessential example of the failure of the U.S. reservation system imposed upon the Lakota and other tribes, with staggering statistics on everything from violent crime to education. The unemployment rate is nearly 90% and the life expectancy for men is 48, roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia. Huey’s color photographs stand as a testament to the incredible difficulties facing the tribe and the reparations yet to be made to them, but also to the strength and beauty of their spirit, which shines through all of the darkness.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Aaron Huey is a photojournalist who works primarily for National Geographic and Harper’s Magazine where he is a Contributing Editor and the only photographer on the masthead of the 162-year-old magazine. Huey is widely known for his 3,349-mile solo walk across America with his dog Cosmo in 2002. The journey lasted 154 days, there was no media coverage and they walked every step. Following the walk Huey took a 2 1/2 year hiatus from shooting photos to build an artist-in-residence program called Hueyhaus from the ground up on the Pecos River east of Santa Fe. Aaron now uses Seattle, Washington as a home base in between assignments. He is a Stanford Knight Fellow and Stanford d.School Global Leader. His work is represented by Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.