i don't know how much i have shared about my involvement as the associate producer for The Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project on National Geographic.com, but it is hard for me to talk too much about it, as the stories really speak for themselves. what i will say is that i had the overwhelming honor to work alongside, my dear buddy, aaron huey and go back home to my south dakota twice this summer to collect stories for the project. to meet and re-visit with the Lakota people of Pine Ridge, i was equally humbled and inspired. i will not share with you all my experiences, it is far too extensive and deep for me to articulate in this format, and this work i hold way too close to my heart in a sacred place, but i will share with you a couple of my friends and heroes whom i was honored to listen to, to record their stories and then post them on Nat Geo. in the photo captions below, you can see some of the stories that i was able to help collect. there are many, many, manyyyyy more online and i URGE you to spend some time and listen. educate yourself and open your heart.
i adore these shots, ever so much, and i'm sure because i hold this place so close to my heart - in the very depths of my soul - it will forever be woven in to the very fabric that makes up my south dakota, and fundamentally a part of who i am - the golden fields, the cotton ball clouds, the cornflower blue skies, the beautiful people with hearts of gold and fire, the struggle, the victory, the silence, the fight, the wind, the wind, the wind.
|that damn sky.|
|driving home after the storm.|
|no joke, one of my favorite places in the universe, and favorite places to take naps and pray. this is another view of my favorite tree, which i'm sure you've seen photographed before.|
|i don't have words for this cinematic wonderment.|
|while we lived in Rapid, i always wanted to do a photoshoot in front of this MOOSE lodge, we never got around to it, so i had to revisit it on my trips back and go snap this amazing building.|
|this is the other side of street, opposite the gas station in scenic. quite the old wild west town, eh|
|to the right of laurette's childhood home is the tatanka trading center, i think it used to be an old church. i bought a dress from there once.|
|this plot of land is the place my dear friend laurette used to have a house. she grew up here for a while in scenic. she told me i didn't have to take a picture of it, but of course i had to!|
|this is my friend Corbin's pickup. he is a Lakota interpreter for tourists who visit the Badlands National Park and ask him alllll kinds of crazy questions about the Lakota.|
|this is my dear friend valerie [read val's stories here] and corbin. they are both amazing Lakota artists and this day was especially nice, as we got to visit with Corbin for a couple of hours at the White River Visitor Center and i recorded him telling us some pretty amazing stories and a darn good joke for the national geographic project. listen to them here.|
|a man and his truck.|
|hugging my tree. yes, i said it.|
|if mr. jealous of him doesn't slay you, i don't know who will. this Lakota man is so amazing, so full of happiness, love and purity. his gentle nature was so infectious as i spent about an hour with him at the Kyle Senior Center listening to his stories and recording them. he is the true definition of a heart breaker. read his story here.|
|this is where my buddy DJ played football in high school. he was the star of his team and he is now at Haskell University playing ball. I have watched him grow in to a confident, capable man whom i am so proud of. read his story here.|
|my dearest friends, kevin and valerie pourier. read kevin's stories here, and check out their AMAZING buffalo horn art here. |
this is my dear brother bim. he is a counselor at Little Wound High School and a role model for us all. read his story here.
|how you get me every.damn.time.|
|i dragged my dearest friend, laurette [read laurette's stories here] out of the house and made her come with me to watch the sunset on my last night back home in rapid. it was so nice to spend this time with her, and the sunset was more than cooperative as you'll see from the photos below...|
|are you KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!?!??!|