Pine Ridge: In the Shadow of Wounded Knee


National Geographic

The photographs, text, video and audio below are from the August edition of National Geographic magazine, all courtesy of the magazine. The photography is by Aaron Huey, whose work we have highlighted before at the sad red earth, the story by Alexandra Fuller. Huey has spent the past seven years documenting the lives of  the Oglala Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It is an important record of Native life today after a history of conquest.

©Aaron Huey

“Riders take a break during a day of activities to mark the 1876 defeat of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.”

©Aaron Huey

“Three-year-old C. J. Shot bathes among dishes. The Oglala concept of tiospaye—the unity of the extended family—means that homes are often overcrowded, especially with the severe housing shortage on the reservation. In 2008, when this photograph was made, 22 people lived in the three-bedroom house. “These houses aren’t who we are,” says Oglala activist Alex White Plume.”

©Aaron Huey

“A passenger barely has room for the journey home as a car is loaded with used clothing donated by a Colorado-based Native American charity. Contrary to popular myth, Native Americans do not automatically receive a monthly federal check and are not exempt from taxes. The Oglala Lakota and other Sioux tribes have refused a monetary settlement for the U.S.’s illegal seizure of the Black Hills, their spiritual home.”

©Aaron Huey

“Lenny Jumping Eagle rides in a celebration of the defeat of Colonel Custer in the Battle of the Greasy Grass (the Battle of the Little Bighorn), June 25-26, 1876. Every year dozens of long-distance rides or horse races on and beyond the reservation commemorate great leaders, sacred lands, and historic events.”

©Aaron Huey

“After intense communication with the spirits, participants emerge from a steaming inipi, or purification (sweat) lodge. This ceremony was held by Rick Two Dogs, a medicine man descended from American Horse.”

Audio interviews and photos by Aaron Huey


“I think to be a warrior, you
have to be strong in your mind.”


“No matter what happens, we
are going to stand till the end.”


“Some call me a seer … someone that
came back to finish his destiny”


“The Native Youth Movement is the voice
of the younger generations to come.”

You can view more of Aaron Huey’s photography from Pine Ridge here.

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