Indian Country

Seeking Submissions: Wiyoĥpeyata, a New Journal of Native American Literature

Our friends at Alternating Current press, who are behind so many fine projects and publications, have yet one more, Wiyoĥpeyata: a Literary Journal for the Pine Ridge Reservation. The title, in Lakota, means Westward, and the journal is open to Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota as well as members of neighboring Great Plains tribes. For a nominal fee, non-residents who have had experiences on Pine Ridge or among the Great Plains Indians may also contribute. State the editors, their plans are to donate

100% of the proceeds (after at-cost expenses are met) to several organizations working to better the lives and cultures of the people of Pine Ridge, especially the youth. While we are still in talking-mode with these organizations, we will update you on where your money is going as soon as we have the final details.

The journal is accepting visual art as well. Here is more about Wiyoĥpeyata, followed by a link to the AC site, where electronic submissions are accepted.

What is Wiyoĥpeyata? It is a journal of writing by Pine Ridge residents. It ranges anywhere from children telling their stories, to teens coping with suicide, to adults reliving their cultural memories. For many on the Pine Ridge Reservation, life can be bleak; writing is a therapeutic way of reaching out, feeling connected, and more importantly, sharing one’s knowledge, hopes, dreams, and stories with others who have never heard them. For some, it can be life-saving just to know that someone is listening. For us, we want to show you that the Oglala Lakota Sioux are not perpetuators of some strange, foreign culture to which you can’t relate—they are the same as you and me. They play football and basketball, participate in rodeos and youth groups, make beautiful art, jam out to rock music, and spraypaint graffiti on overpasses. They farm and work with animals, play soccer, read J. D. Salinger, take photographs, attend universities. They are mechanics and engineers and farmers and leatherworkers. They ride horses with saddles, wear blue jeans, speak English, and have libraries. We want to show you, in their own words, that there is more to this vibrant people than a worn-out stereotype. We are currently beginning issue #1, and it is in its infancy, so please pass the word around and submit. The book will go to press when it has at least thirty pieces of prose and/or poetry and/or experimental hybrid writing. Sign up on our mailing list to be notified of its release.

Visit Alternating Current and Wiyoĥpeyata here.


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Indian Country

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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