The Black Hills Are Not For Sale Time Lapse Video

On Nov. 26, 2011, Harper’s magazine Contributing Editor and National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey joined Shepard Fairey, the prolific street artist known to most people for his iconic Obama HOPE campaign image, and installed a stunning 20×80-foot mural THE BLACK HILLS ARE NOT FOR SALE. It’s at the intersection of Ogden and the highly trafficked Melrose Avenue in West Los Angeles near Fairfax.

The result is a beautiful, intriguing “billboard” that we hope will spur those who walk and drive by to educate themselves about what it means. The composition brings visibility to a group that is otherwise pretty much hidden from the rest of the nation, the Lakota people of South Dakota.

Background here:

The Black Hills Are Not for Sale: The Mural Is Up in Los Angeles. Here’s How It Got There

The Black Hills Are Not For Sale from sinuhe xavier on Vimeo.

From Sinuhe:


I met Aaron Huey at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival during May of 2011 and was instantly captivated with his work on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and his project, Honor The Treaties. We worked together with Shepard Fairey over the next several months to collaborate and bring something to the streets of Los Angeles. With help from Miguel of La Barracuda this 20×60 wall on Melrose Ave at Fairfax was secured. What you see here is the culmination of the tireless efforts of Aaron Huey and Shepard Fairey that took place November 26, 2011.

The V.O. is from this ted.com/talks/aaron_huey.html Ted Talk.

Please go to honorthetreaties.org to learn more.

More credits below:

Wheat Paster: Nicholas Bowers

Wheat Paster: Shepard Fairey

Scissors: Daryl Hannah

Wheat Paster: Chet Hay

Wheat Paster: Aaron Huey

Wheat Paster: Daniel Salin

Wheat Paster: Sinuhe Xavier

Crowd Control: Miguel

Production: The Department of Scenarios

Camera: Taylor Kent

Editor: Carol Martori

Links:

aaronhuey.com/

obeygiant.com/

barracudashop.com/blog/

sinuhexavier.com/

carolmartori.com/

The Black Hills Are Not for Sale: The Mural Is Up in Los Angeles. Here’s How It Got There

The text of this post was a collaborative project of navajo and Meteor Blades. All but four of the photos, most of which appear below the squiggle, were taken by navajo.

Invisible Indians

This is the third in a year-long series being posted at Native American Netroots dedicated to revealing how American Indians – on reservations and in urban environments – are mostly invisible, a product of long-standing U.S. policy and societal ignorance.

On Nov. 26, 2011, Harper’s magazine Contributing Editor and National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey joined Shepard Fairey, the prolific street artist known to most people for his iconic Obama HOPE campaign image, and installed a stunning 20×80-foot mural THE BLACK HILLS ARE NOT FOR SALE. It’s at the intersection of Ogden and the highly trafficked Melrose Avenue in West Los Angeles near Fairfax.

The result is a beautiful, intriguing “billboard” that we hope will spur those who walk and drive by to educate themselves about what it means. The composition brings visibility to a group that is otherwise pretty much hidden from the rest of the nation, the Lakota people of South Dakota.

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HISTORY AND BACKGROUND:

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The Black Hills (He Sapa in Lakota, the language of the people most Americans know as Sioux) were wrenched from the tribes in 1877. Starting in 1922, the Lakota have sought what has become an 89-year-long array of complex legal efforts to have them returned, so far without success.

In 1950, the Sioux Nation filed a petition with the Indian Claims Commission for He Sapa and other lands based on two factors: treaty violations and lack of compensation. Thirty years later, ruling in what is one of the longest running court cases in U.S. history, United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court ruled that the Lakotas had been unjustly moved onto reservations and 7 million acres of their lands, including the He Sapa, illegally opened up to prospectors and homesteaders in violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Rather than give the Black Hills back, the court affirmed a lower court decision backing the ICC’s award of $106 million in compensation, which included 103 years of compound interest. It did not include compensation for the vast amount of minerals that have been extracted from the area.

The Sioux Tribal Council said no to the settlement, fearing that agreeing to take the money would mean they could never get back the sacred He Sapa. Thus the slogan, “The Black Hills are not for sale.” In the 30 years since then, the compensation fund held by the government has grown to more than $1 billion, and the pressure inside the Sioux Nation to accept payment has grown in great part because of the continuing poverty and associated ills the Lakota people endure decade after decade. This past August, a case brought by 19 Lakotas seeking to have the money divided equally among individuals was dismissed by a federal court to the relief of tribal leaders.

Considerable hope has been placed in President Obama to resolve the issue. Unlike past presidents, he is widely viewed among Indians to have actually listened to our concerns and promised to deal with them fairly. Since the highest court has made its ruling, only the President and Congress can change things.

Some solutions have been suggested with varying degrees of acceptance among Lakotas. One proposal would release the accumulated funds from the court-ordered settlement and turn over the federally owned land in the Black Hills and other nearby lands. Excepted would be Mt. Rushmore, which hosts the granite faces of four presidents who presided over the taking of Indian land from coast to coast. No private land owned by non-Lakotas would be part of the deal.

In 2009 the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association formed the Great Sioux Nation He Sapa Reparation Alliance in hopes of presenting a unified voice for realizing a settlement that would hold the United States responsible for the violations of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and take action on both the land and compensation issues. Nearly 135 years after the Black Hills were taken, the Lakota people still want them back and seem determined not to sell them, not even for a billion dollars.

Here’s a video of Aaron Huey’s TED talk on the Lakota people and the broken treaties:

Transcript of Aaron’s talk and a timeline of treaties made, treaties broken and massacres disguised as battles.

Excerpt:

I have been asked to talk about my relationship with the Lakota. That is a very difficult thing for me because, if you haven’t noticed from my skin color, I’m white. And that will always be a huge barrier on a native reservation. You will see a lot of people in my photographs today. I’ve become very close with them. They have welcomed me like family. They called me “uncle: and “brother” and they welcomed me back many times over in my five years of visits. But on Pine Ridge I will always be what is called Wasi’chu. Wasi’chu is a Lakota word that means “non-Indian,” but another version of this word means “Takes the best part of the meat.” And that is what I want to focus on today: “The one who takes the best part of the meat.” It means “greedy.”

Aaron has been photographing his friends on Pine Ridge since 2004. His goal now is to bring much-needed attention to the Lakota and the history of broken treaties with the U.S. government at Honor The Treaties.org

Ojibwa has more history on American Lies and the Treaty of Fort Laramie

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THE INSTALLATION:

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Meet Miguel Garcia, in the center, with Shepard Fairey on the left and Aaron Huey on the right, Miguel is owner of De La Barracuda, a boxing club at 7769 Melrose. Miguel donated the wall for this installation. The prominent space normally rents for $15,000-20,000.

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We arrive after an 85 mph trip from San Francisco at midday and the work is well under way. They started at 11 a.m. This is Shep walking briskly along the wall, directing the volunteer installers.

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Volunteers have pasted all that can be done at ground level and are now boarding the scissors truck to reach higher spots.

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They have gone through many buckets of wheat paste by the time we arrive.

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Shep scoops up excess wheat paste.

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Shep swabs the installed paper pieces with a thick coat of wheat paste.

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Daryl Hannah and Aaron, who met her at the MountainFilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado this past May. She is now an avid supporter of his Honor the Treaties: Pine Ridge Billboard Project.

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Daryl cuts paper snippets of the image to correct imperfections in the pasting. She was on site for several hours.

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Aaron plots logistics with Shep.

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Daryl and Chet Hay (Aaron’s assistant) join Aaron and Shep to discuss some details of the installation.  

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Chet keeps the mural pieces organized.

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Lakota pow-wow dancer’s ear is hoisted for installation.

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This is Sinuhé Xavier. He knows Miguel, the club owner, and after he met Aaron, he connected the two.

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A large portion of the beautiful Lakota pow-wow dancer’s face is being installed by Shep and other members of the team.  

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Aaron stacks paper strips for the next upload.

Shots taken by co-author Meteor Blades:

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This figure with the outstretched arms is co-author navajo showing how extremely happy she is to be there.

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Shep, Aaron, Meteor Blades, Shockwave and Lara. Honorary SFKossacks Represent!

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Shep, navajo and Aaron.

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Shep’s presence being documented.

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Watching and waiting for the next hand-off of paper.

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Daniel Salin, a producer and curator for art shows and an installer for the famous international street artist Banksy, takes a break from working on the scissors truck. Daniel was connected with Aaron through Sinuhé. He has done the Barracuda wall before with Shep and photograffeur JR.

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Documenting is done from all angles.

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Daniel, Shep and Eric Becker

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The face gets closer to completion.

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Urban Indians: navajo and her daughter mangolind watch the mural’s progress.

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Aaron and Shep paste the mural’s strips on the top edge of the wall.

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Shep and Daniel, covered in wheat paste.

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Aaron finishes the last square of paper!

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He turns around with a grin.

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Aaron, Daryl and Shep pose with the completed project.

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Now for the Pièce de Résistance: The billboard is tagged with HONOR THE TREATIES.org

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Chet, Aaron, Sinuhé and Daniel are happy to be done.

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Sinuhé and Aaron snap pics of their work from across the street.

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Aaron, navajo, Sinuhé, Daniel and Taylor Kent, who documented the project with a time-lapse camera across the street.

You can browse more than 290 of navajo’s photos of the installation here by clicking the slideshow button.

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HOW YOU CAN DIRECTLY HELP THE LAKOTA:

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#1: Share and Tweet this diary with your networks.

Honor The Treaties at Facebook.

#2: Support the organization that directly helps the youth of Pine Ridge who are featured in the images above.


The Owe Aku International Justice Project DONATE is guided daily by traditional leaders and elders who speak our language and live our Lakota way of life.  This approach has preserved our nation for 170 years against unyielding attempts to annihilate, assimilate and legislate us out of existence.  Our goal is to do nothing more than continue the process left to us by our ancestors.

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Famed Artist Fairey Shines Light on Invisible Indians with L.A. Mural

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American-Indian-Heritage-Month

photo credit: Aaron Huey

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 26th, 2011, there is an important event will take place at the intersection of Melrose and Fairfax in West Los Angeles.

Harper’s Magazine Contributing Editor and National Geographic photographer, Aaron Huey and prolific street artist of the Obama HOPE campaign image, Shepard Fairey have collaborated and will produce a 20×80-foot mural THE BLACK HILLS ARE NOT FOR SALE installation before your eyes.

Shepard Fairey Aaron Huey Install

The wall usually rents for $15-20,000 and is being donated.

This is a mockup of the site:

Aaron Huey mockup of install

Melrose and Fairfax is an extremely highly trafficked intersection.

The installation prep work will begin in the morning with gathering elements and erecting the scaffolding. The actual unfolding and pasting of the massive sheets of artwork will likely start at noon. (This is just an estimate.)

I plan to be there about 1 PM and would love to have some fellow Kossacks along side me to watch this important event that raises awareness of American Indians and points to the long history of Broken Promises.

Our message is HONOR THE TREATIES.

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Today is American Indian Heritage Day

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Please share this diary far and wide.

Another installment of our new series:

Invisible Indians



This is the first in a year-long series…
(560+ / 0-)

…being posted at Native American Netroots dedicated to revealing how American Indians – on reservations and in urban environments – are mostly invisible, a product of long-standing U.S. policy and societal ignorance.

by Meteor Blades on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 03:10:53 PM PDT

Pine Ridge Poster Project Up & Running [Photo Heavy]

Aaron Huey‘s awareness campaign bringing attention to the on going struggle of broken treaties with American Indians is surfacing in Seattle and New York City.  

I’ve collected photos from his Honor the Treaties Facebook Page for you to see the progress. If you have a Facebook account please go there and “like” it.

The installations use the following works of art from Shepard Fairey and his assistant Ernesto Yerena, these screen prints are based on Aaron Huey’s photos of Pine Ridge.

LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF BROKEN PROMISES

The photos of the poster installations are below the fold.

LIVE IN SEATTLE

Pine Ridge Poster Project

Capitol Hill, Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

West Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

At the Georgetown Carnival in Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

3rd Ave S & Main, Downtown Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

200 S. Main St., Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

7th Ave S and S Jackson St., Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

Oregon & Rainier Ave., Seattle

Pine Ridge Poster Project

12th & First, Seattle

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LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY

Pine Ridge Poster Project

29th St between 6th and 7th Ave in NYC

Pine Ridge Poster Project

E 33rd and Madison Ave, MANHATTAN

Pine Ridge Poster Project

Mulberry & Houston, Manhattan

Pine Ridge Poster Project

3rd Ave and E 22nd, MANHATTAN

NYC map

Clicking on the map gives you the street addresses. It would be great if we could get more photos of these installations. Send me a PM if you can take photos for us and post them on the Honor the Treaties Facebook Page.

I’m currently putting together a team to do some “wheat pasting” in San Francisco.

ACTION!

Do you have a prominent wall that gets a lot of traffic in your city and could use some wheat pasting?  Tell us in the comments.

Pine Ridge Poster Project

Treaty Holders


LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF BROKEN PROMISES

Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as “the supreme law of the land.”   We start from the base assumption that few, if any, treaties between the United States and North American Tribes were honored.  The TED talk above outlines one particular case that stands as a symbol for all tribes:  The United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians.  In this history we see a calculated and systematic destruction of a people.  Although the story is of the Lakota and the treaties they signed at Fort Laramie in 1851 and 1868, it is the story of all indigenous people.  The story of this tribe is far from over and “The Black Hills are (still) not for sale.”  Over time this site will grow to become a more complete database of treaties and the treaty issues facing North America Indian tribes.  For more information on contemporary advocacy for Lakota treaty rights, please visit www.oweakuinternational.org

Honor The Treaties

Ernesto Yerena’s Newest Addition to the Pine Ridge Billboard Project

This is part three of my continuing coverage of Aaron Huey’s Pine Ridge Billboard Project.

Below is Ernesto Yerena’s latest screenprint made for this project and based on one of Aaron Huey’s images from Pine Ridge. Information about Ernesto and his first illustration for this project is featured below the fold.

I’m truly amazed at the magnitude of beauty in this artistic collaboration among Aaron Huey, Shepard Fairey and Ernesto Yerena.  

Art and Activism.

Background on this project below:

The famous street artist Shepard Fairey of the Obama HOPE image has generously donated his time. This will be available as a limited edition signed screenprint through Aaron Huey’s Pine Ridge Billboard Project.

BEHOLD

Here is Aaron Huey’s photo that Shepard Fairey based his illustration on:

Theo White Plume - Wambli Wahancanka

      Theo White Plume – Wambli Wahancanka (Eagle Shield)

FROM MY FIRST DIARY ON THIS SUBJECT:

I would like to announce a new project to raise NATIONAL awareness of the poverty on our reservations. My friend Aaron Huey is launching an ambitious billboard campaign using his images of Pine Ridge reservation. Aaron is donating his time and talent to organize this project.

I have been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently I have realized how inappropriate it is for this project to end with another book or a gallery show.

More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.

Honor the Treaties

Illustration by Ernesto Yerena using images by Aaron Huey


Lakota Girl Reaching

Image used to create the illustration above


Transcript:

[American Indian voice: Rick Two Dogs]

You know, history, when you break it down it means “his story,” which is really the story of the dominant culture.  And we all know historically that the — I guess the conquerors are the ones that write the history, you know, and it’s really never based on the people that were supposedly conquered.

[Text block]

The last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, “My god, what are these people doing to themselves, they are killing each other, they are killing themselves!”

[Aaron Huey:]

When I first got to Pine Ridge, I didn’t really get it.  All my first assignments were about poverty and violence and gangs and all those stories skimmed the surface.  And now, six years later, now that I know the real story, I realize that mainstream American magazines won’t print it.

The real story is the history — a history of broken treaties, of prisoner of war camps, and massacres.  It’s too hard to look at.  It’s too dark.  It’s too layered and too painful to fit in between shampoo ads and car commercials.  This project has reached the limits of print media.

I don’t want you to give me money today for a book or a gallery show, where everybody drinks wine and looks at beautiful pictures of suffering.  I want to take the images I’ve made over the past six years on Pine Ridge and put them on billboards.  I want to put them in subways.  I want to put them on the sides of busses.  I want to put them in places where people can’t ignore them.

I’m here today asking for your participation in a project that will illuminate a hidden history and empower a community.  This is a grassroots information campaign.  Your involvement, not just your money, is crucial.  We will need help distributing these images in your communities.

Several partners have already joined me in this cause, including Ernesto Yerena, an activist and artist from Los Angeles who created visuals for the Alto Arizona campaign.  Ernesto is collaborating with me to create a poster series based on my photographs that transcends these depressing statistics.



This collaborative image is the first of many that we will make in February.  Also joining us will be Shephard Fairey, the most prolific street artist working in America, widely known for his ongoing Obey propaganda and Obama’s Hope campaign.  If anybody can raise an issue to icon status, it’s him.

My collaborations with Ernesto and Shephard will go up on walls in cities all across America.  We will be working hand in hand with Lakota and other indigenous rights organizations to produce this work, sharing resources through a website I have created at honorthetreaties.org.

Remember, this project is not a charity.  It’s about turning awareness into action.

MORE BACKGROUND:

In 1980 the Supreme Court ruled upon the longest running court case in US History, the Sioux Nation vs. the United States. The court determined that the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty had been violated when the Sioux were resettled onto P.O.W. camps, and 7 million acres of their land were opened up to prospectors and homesteaders. These camps are now called reservations.

The grim statistics on Native Reservations today are the equivalent to that of a 3rd world country, revealing the legacy of colonization and treaty violations. Unemployment on the Reservation fluctuates between 80-90%. Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to 5 families. More than 90% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. The life expectancy for men is 47 years old – roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.

ACTION: For as little as $10 you can help launch this project.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.



Mock-up of a highway billboard installation:




Mock-up of a wall installation using 24x 26″ posters:

Mock-up of a subway platform installation:

For the minimum donation of $10 you get access to the “making-of zone.” The making-of zone will be a special behind the scenes page where you can monitor Aaron, Ernesto, Shepard and others as they work on this project.

CREATIVE PARTNERS: Helping me to turn my photos into powerful illustrations are Ernesto Yerena, an artist and activist who created visuals for the Alto Arizona campaign, and Shepard Fairey, the most prolific street artist in America, known for his street art (OBEY) and the Obama HOPE campaign image. These collaborations with Ernesto and Shepard will go up on buildings and bus stops all over the country. I hope to also involve some of you with distribution of imagery and possibly even in the role of a wheat pasting in your towns. Shepardard’s image will be uploaded in April.

FINANCIAL GOALS + BUDGET: $17,250 will provide funding for a nationwide guerilla poster campaign. $30k, will allow for substantially more visibility, taking the photo essay to subway platforms in NYC and to billboards around South Dakota and Washington DC, where policy makers have the power to make real change on Reservations. Expenses: 35-40% to printing posters and billboards, 40-50% for ad space, 5-10% Shipping and Travel, and 1% for website setup.

Progress so far today:

Remember that $17,250 is the minimum goal, the ultimate goal is $30K to allow more visibility.

PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES to watch my TED talk on this subject, the video is posted below.

Transcript

Honor The Treaties

TURN AWARENESS INTO ACTION:

Through this campaign a website is forming at honorthetreaties.org I hope to build this site up to become a point of reference for those who want to know more about the history and the (broken) treaties of the Sioux and other tribes. There will be direct links to assist grassroots Native non-profits in places like Pine Ridge.

Our first partner is Owe Aku.

Support the Owe Aku International Justice Project,  a grassroots non-governmental social change organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of the Lakota Way of Life, 1851 & 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty Rights, and Human Rights.  “Owe Aku” means “bring back the way.”  Learn more about their specific actions at oweakuinternational.org There is also a donation page if you’d like to help this group. They are currently in need of a new computer for their office.

Raising the NATIONAL awareness in metropolitan areas like New York City and Washington DC will help us influence policy makers to help our American Indian tribes and reservations.

This is an excellent campaign.

AWARENESS WILL BRING ACTION

FOR FUTURE REFERENCE:

Contact info for the SENATE INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

to honor the treaties:

Senator Dorgan

Senator Barrasso

Senator Akaka

Senator Cantwell

Senator Coburn

Senator Crapo

Senator Franken

Senator Inouye

Senator Johanns

Senator Johnson

Senator McCain

Senator Murkowski

Senator Tester

Senator Udall

Pine Ridge Billboard Project by Aaron Huey

I would like to announce a new project to raise NATIONAL awareness of the poverty on our reservations. My friend Aaron Huey is launching an ambitious billboard campaign using his images of Pine Ridge reservation. Aaron is donating his time and talent to organize this project.

I have been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently I have realized how inappropriate it is for this project to end with another book or a gallery show.

More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.


Honor the Treaties

Illustration by Ernesto Yerena using images by Aaron Huey

Lakota Girl Reaching

Image used to create the illustration above


Transcript:

[American Indian voice:]

You know, history, when you break it down it means “his story,” which is really the story of the dominant culture.  And we all know historically that the — I guess the conquerors are the ones that write the history, you know, and it’s really never based on the people that were supposedly conquered.

[Text block]

The last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, “My god, what are these people doing to themselves, they are killing each other, they are killing themselves!”

[Aaron Huey:]

When I first got to Pine Ridge, I didn’t really get it.  All my first assignments were about poverty and violence and gangs and all those stories skimmed the surface.  And now, six years later, now that I know the real story, I realize that mainstream American magazines won’t print it.

The real story is the history — a history of broken treaties, of prisoner of war camps, and massacres.  It’s too hard to look at.  It’s too dark.  It’s too layered and too painful to fit in between shampoo ads and car commercials.  This project has reached the limits of print media.

I don’t want you to give me money today for a book or a gallery show, where everybody drinks wine and looks at beautiful pictures of suffering.  I want to take the images I’ve made over the past six years on Pine Ridge and put them on billboards.  I want to put them in subways.  I want to put them on the sides of busses.  I want to put them in places where people can’t ignore them.

I’m here today asking for your participation in a project that will illuminate a hidden history and empower a community.  This is a grassroots information campaign.  Your involvement, not just your money, is crucial.  We will need help distributing these images in your communities.

Several partners have already joined me in this cause, including Ernesto Yerena, an activist and artist from Los Angeles who created visuals for the Alto Arizona campaign.  Ernesto is collaborating with me to create a poster series based on my photographs that transcends these depressing statistics.



This collaborative image is the first of many that we will make in February.  Also joining us will be Shephard Fairey, the most prolific street artist working in America, widely known for his ongoing Obey propaganda and Obama’s Hope campaign.  If anybody can raise an issue to icon status, it’s him.

My collaborations with Ernesto and Shephard will go up on walls in cities all America.  We will be working hand in hand with Lakota and other indigenous rights organizations to produce this work, sharing resources through a website I have created at honorthetreaties.org.

Remember, this project is not a charity.  It’s about turning awareness into action.

MORE BACKGROUND:

In 1890 the Supreme Court ruled upon the longest running court case in US History, the Sioux Nation vs. the United States. The court determined that the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty had been violated when the Sioux were resettled onto P.O.W. camps, and 7 million acres of their land were opened up to prospectors and homesteaders. These camps are now called “reservations”.

The grim statistics on Native Reservations today are the equivalent to that of a 3rd world country, revealing the legacy of colonization and treaty violations. Unemployment on the Reservation fluctuates between 80-90%. Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to 5 families. More than 90% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. The life expectancy for men is 47 years old – roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.

ACTION: For as little as $10 you can help launch this project.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public-to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.



Mock-up of a highway billboard installation:




Mock-up of a wall installation using 24x 26″ posters:

Mock-up of a subway platform installation:

CREATIVE PARTNERS: Helping me to turn my photos into powerful illustrations are Ernesto Yerena, an artist and activist who created visuals for the Alto Arizona campaign, and Shepard Fairey, the most prolific street artist in America, known for his street art (OBEY) and the Obama HOPE campaign image. These collaborations with Ernesto and Shepard will go up on buildings and bus stops all over the country. I hope to also involve some of you with distribution of imagery and possibly even in the role of “wheat pasting” in your towns. Shepard’s image will be uploaded in late Feb.

FINANCIAL GOALS + BUDGET: $17,250 will provide funding for a nationwide guerilla poster campaign. $30k, will allow for substantially more visibility, taking the photo essay to subway platforms in NYC and to billboards around South Dakota and Washington DC, where policy makers have the power to make real change on Reservations. Expenses: 35-40% to printing posters and billboards, 40-50% for ad space, 5-10% Shipping and Travel, and 1% for website setup.

OUTLETS FOR ACTION: Through this campaign a website is forming at honorthetreaties.org I hope to build this site up to become a point of reference for those who want to know more about the history and the (broken) treaties of the Sioux and other tribes. There will be direct links to assist grassroots Native non-profits in places like Pine Ridge.

Our first partner is Owe Aku.

PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES to watch my TED talk on this subject, the video is posted below.

Transcript

Honor The Treaties

Raising the NATIONAL awareness in metropolitan areas like New York City and Washington DC will help us influence policy makers to help our American Indian tribes and reservations.

This is an excellent campaign.

FOR FUTURE REFERENCE:

Contact info for the SENATE INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

to honor the treaties:

Senator Dorgan

Senator Barrasso

Senator Akaka

Senator Cantwell

Senator Coburn

Senator Crapo

Senator Franken

Senator Inouye

Senator Johanns

Senator Johnson

Senator McCain

Senator Murkowski

Senator Tester

Senator Udall

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Cedwyn for providing the video transcript this morning

TiaRachel for video embed assistance

rfall for helping with new coding issues with DK4 stylesheets

Pine Ridge: American Prisoner of War Camp #334

Several months ago you donated thousands of dollars to help the Lakota on South Dakota reservations through an extremely harsh winter. You saved lives, thank you so much.

I want to tell you more about the significance of Pine Ridge reservation.

It is ground zero for American Indian issues. Below is a recent powerful presentation by renowned photographer Aaron Huey. After developing a close relationship with some families on Pine Ridge Mr. Huey obtained some astonishing images and they are featured in the video below. Mr. Huey also gives you an important historical time line of the Lakota and ends with a powerful conclusion.

I’m currently reading for review a new book on Wounded Knee that gives a time line of political events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee which is located on Pine Ridge. The time line is lengthy and complicated. Below is a concise time line that will help you easily understand these events.

Video below and transcript with several small photos for those on dial up:

From The New York Times LENS feature Behind the Scenes: Still Wounded

Aaron Huey arrived on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota at the start of a self-assigned photographic road trip to document poverty in America.

The poverty he found on the reservation stopped him cold.

“It was emotionally devastating,” Mr. Huey said. “I’d call my wife late at night crying.”

Overwhelmed by the poverty – and at the same time by scenes of people trying to maintain the Lakota way of life – Mr. Huey abandoned the rest of his nationwide project to focus on Pine Ridge. Five years later, he’s still photographing on the reservation, which includes the Wounded Knee massacre site.

Mr. Huey, 33, is a photographer for Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure and National Geographic Traveler. He also freelances for The New Yorker and Geo. In 2007, he photographed in Afghanistan for The Times.

Regarding the video below:

Challenging us with stunning images, Aaron Huey relates the fight for survival on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Aaron began photographing on Pine Ridge Reservation as part of a story on poverty in America, but it has captured his passion for five years. A quintessential example of the failures of the reservation system, he and we cannot turn away from what we see at Pine Ridge.

PLEASE watch the video, it is powerful and tells the story of Pine Ridge so well.

Transcript:

We tried to run, but they shot us like we were buffalo.”

-Louise Weasel Bear, Survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre

My name is Aaron Huey, I am a photographer.

I am here today to show you my photographs of the Lakota.

Pine Ridge Panel One

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Lakota, or at least of the larger group of seven tribes known as the Sioux.  

The Lakota were one of the many tribes that were moved off their land to prisoner of war camps now known as “reservations.”  

The Pine Ridge Reservation, the subject of today’s slideshow, is 75 miles south east of the Black Hills in South Dakota and is sometimes referred to as Prisoner of War Camp #334, it is where the Lakota now live.

If any of you have ever heard of AIM – the American Indian movement- or Leonard Peltier, or Russell Means, or the Wounded Knee takeover, you know that Pine Ridge is ground zero for native issues

I have been asked to talk about my relationship with the Lakota.  That is a very difficult thing for me because, if you haven’t noticed from my skin color,  I’m white.   And that will always be a huge barrier on a Native Reservation.  You will see a lot of people in my photographs today, I’ve become very close with them, they have welcomed me like family.   They called me uncle and brother and they welcomed me back many times over in my five years of visits.   But on Pine Ridge I will always be what is called Wasi’chu. Wasi’chu is a Lakota word that means “Non Indian” but another version of this word means “Takes the best part of the meat.”  And that is what I want to focus on today,  “The one who takes the best part of the meat.”   It means Greedy.

So take a look around this auditorium today.  We are at a private school in the American west.   Sitting in Red velvet chairs.  Pockets full of money.  It is obvious looking at our lives, that we did indeed take the best part of the meat.  

So lets look today at a set of photographs of a group of people who lost so we could gain.  And know when you see these people’s faces that these are not just images of the Lakota, they stand for all indigenous people.

On this piece of paper is the history the way I learned it from my Lakota friends and family.

The following is a timeline of treaties made, treaties broken, and massacres disguised as battles.

I will begin in 1824

What is now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs was created within the WAR DEPARTMENT, setting an early tone of aggression in our dealings with Native Americans.



1851
 

The first Treaty of Fort Laramie was made, clearly marking the boundaries of the Lakota land.  

According to the treaty, those lands are a sovereign nation.

If the boundaries of this treaty had held, and there is a legal basis that it should, then this   map is what the US would look like.

Ten years later The Homestead Act, signed by President Lincoln, unleashed a flood of white settlers upon Indian lands.



1863

An uprising of Santee Sioux in Minnesota ends with the hanging of 38 Sioux men, >>the largest mass execution in US History.

The execution was ordered by president Lincoln 2 days after he signed the emancipation proclamation.

1866  

The beginning of the transcontinental railroad.  A new era.

We appropriated lands for trail and trains to shortcut through the heart of the Lakota Nation.

The treaties were out the window

In response 3 tribes lead by the Lakota Chief Red Cloud attacked and defeated the US Army many times over.    

I repeat – the Lakota defeated the US Army.

1868  

The second Fort Laramie Treaty clearly guarantees the sovereignty of the Great Sioux Nation and the Lakota ownership of the Sacred Black Hills.  

The govt also promises land and hunting rights in the surrounding states

We promised that the Powder River Country would henceforth be closed to all whites.  

The treaty seemed to be a complete victory for Red Cloud and the Sioux.  

In fact, this is the only war in American history in which the government negotiated peace by conceding everything demanded by the enemy.

1869

The transcontinental railroad was completed; it began carrying, among other things, large numbers of hunters, who began wholesale killing of buffalo.

Eliminating the source of food, clothing, and shelter for the Sioux.

1871

The Indian Appropriations Act makes all Indians wards of the federal government.

In addition The military issued orders forbidding western Indians from leaving reservations.

All western Indians at that point in time, were now Prisoners of War.

Also in 1871  we end the time of treaty making.  The problem with treaties is that they allow the tribes to exist as sovereign nations, and we cant have independent nations inside our own.   We had plans.

1874

General George Custer announced the discovery of gold in Lakota territory, specifically the Black Hills.

the news of gold creates a massive influx of white settlers into the Lakota Nation.

Custer  recommends that congress find a way to end the treaties with the Lakota

1875  

The Lakota War began over the violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty.

1876

On June 25th, on its way to attack a Lakota village, Custer’s 7th Cavalry was crushed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

1877  

The Great Lakota Warrior and chief named Crazy Horse surrendered at Fort Robinson. He was later killed while in custody.  

1877 is also the year we found a way to get around the Fort Laramie Treaty.

A new agreement was presented to Sioux chiefs and their leading men under a campaign known as “Sell or Starve”: no signature, no food for your tribe.

Only ten percent of the adult male population signed. The Fort Laramie Treaty called for 3/4 of the tribe to sign away land.   That clause was ignored.

1887

The Dawes Act.  Communal ownership of reservation lands ends. Reservations are cut up into 160-acre sections  AND distributed to individual Indians with the surplus disposed of.

Tribes lost millions of acres. The American dream of individual land ownership was A very cleaver way to divide the reservation until nothing was left.   The move destroyed the reservations, making it easy to further subdivide and sell with each passing generation.  

Most of the “surplus” land, and many of the plots within Reservation boundaries, are now in the hands of white ranchers.  The fat of the land once again goes to Washichu.

1890

A date I believe to be the most important in this slideshow.  This is the year of the wounded knee massacre.

On Dec 29, U.S. troops surrounded a Sioux encampment at Wounded Knee Creek and massacred Chief Big Foot and 300 prisoners of war, using a new rapid fire weapon that fired exploding shells called a  Hotchkiss gun.

For this so-called “battle,” twenty Congressional Medals of Honor for Valor were given to the 7th Calvary.

To this day, this is the most Medals of Honor ever awarded for a single battle.  More medals of honor were given for the indiscriminate slaughter of women and children than in any battle in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.  

The Wounded Knee Massacre is considered the end of the Indian Wars.  

Whenever I visit the site of the mass grave I see it not just as a grave for the Lakota or the Sioux, I see it as a grave for all indigenous people of North America.

The Lakota holy man Black Elk said,  

“I did not know then how much was ended.  

When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young.

And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard.

A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.”

With this event A new era in Native American history began.  Everything can be measured by Before Wounded Knee and After, because it was in this moment, with fingers on the triggers of the Hotchkiss guns overlooking that camp, that the US government openly declared its position on Native rights. They were tired of treaties.  They were tired of sacred hills and ghost dances and all other the other inconveniences of the Sioux.  So they brought out their cannons.

You want to be an Indian now, they said.    Finger on the trigger.

1900

The U.S. Indian population reached its low point: less than 250,000, compared to an estimated 8 million in 1492.

Fast forward to

1980  

The longest running court case in U.S. history, the Sioux Nation v. the United States, was ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court determined that when the Sioux were resettled into reservations and 7 million acres of their land were opened up to prospectors and homesteaders, the terms of the second Fort Laramie Treaty had been violated.

The Court stated that the Black Hills were illegally taken, and that the initial offering price plus interest must be paid to the Sioux Nation.

As payment for the Black Hills, the court awarded $106 million to the Sioux Nation.

The Sioux refused the money with the rallying cry “THE BLACK HILLS ARE NOT FOR SALE”

2010

Statistics about the native population today, more than a century after the massacre at Wounded Knee, reveal the legacy of colonization, forced migration, and treaty violations.

Unemployment on the Pine Ridge Reservation fluctuates between 85-90%, the housing office is unable to afford to build new structures, and existing structures are falling apart.  

Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to five families.  

Thirty-nine percent of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation have no electricity.  

At least 60% of the homes on the reservation are infested with black mold.

More than 80% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately eight times higher than the U.S. national average.

The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 3 times higher than the U.S. national average.  

Cervical cancer is five times higher than the U.S. national average.  

The school drop out rate is over 70%.  

Teacher turnover is eight times that of the U.S. national average.  

Frequently, grandparents are raising their grandchildren because parents, due alcoholism, domestic violence, and general apathy, cannot raise them.

50 percent of the population over 40 suffers from diabetes

The life expectancy for men is, between 46 and 48 years old, roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.

THE LAST CHAPTER IN ANY SUCCESSFUL GENOCIDE IS THE ONE IN WHICH THE OPPRESSOR REMOVES HIS HANDS AND SAYS “OH NO, LOOK WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO THEMSELVES, THEY ARE KILLING THEMSELVES”   WHILE WE WATCH THEM DIE.

THIS IS HOW WE CAME TO OWN THESE UNITED STATES.  THIS IS THE LEGACY OF MANIFEST DESTINY.  

PRISONERS ARE STILL BORN INTO PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS, EVEN IF THE GUARDS ARE LONG GONE.  

THESE ARE THE BONES LEFT BEHIND AFTER THE BEST MEAT HAS BEEN TAKEN.

A long time ago a series of events was set in motion by a people who look like me.  By WASI’CHU eager to take the land and the water and the gold in the Hills.

Those events lead to a domino effect that has yet to end.  

As removed as we, the dominant society, may feel from the responsibility of a massacre in 1890, or a series of broken treaties 150 years ago, I still have to ask you the question – how should we feel about the statistics of today?

What is the connection between these images of suffering and the history I just read to you?  

How much of this history do you need to own?  

Is any of this your responsibility today?

I have been told “there must be something we can do.”  

There must be a call to action.  

For so long I have been content to stand on the sidelines as a witness, JUST TAKING PHOTOS, because the “solutions” seemed to be buried too far in the past, needing nothing short of a time machine to access them.

The suffering of Indigenous peoples is not a simple issue to “fix.”  

It is not something everyone can get behind in the way they can get behind helping Haiti or ending AIDS or fighting a famine.  

The “fix” may be much more painful for the dominant society than say a $50 donation, or a church trip to paint some graffiti covered houses, or a suburban family donating a box of clothes they don’t want anymore.  

So where does that leave us?  Shrugging our shoulders in the dark?

The United States continues, on a daily basis to violate the terms of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties with the Lakota.  

The call to action I offer today , My TED wish, is this:

Honor the treaties.   GIVE BACK THE BLACK HILLS

Its not your business what they do with them.


Mr. Huey gave this presentation at the University of Denver on May 13, 2010.

Aaron was also recently named to the short list for the Alexia Prize, as a finalist for the Center for Documentary Studies – Honickman First Book Prize for his work on Pine Ridge, and named to PDN’s top 30 emerging photographers in the world for 2007.  His images of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation were featured in Perpignan at the last Vis d’Or Photojournalism Festival.

Please send your comments and a link to this diary to the committee members below:

CODE:  SENATE INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE – D.C. ONLY

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS


Main Committee Contact:

Committee on Indian Affairs

Allison Binney, Staff Director and Chief Counsel

United States Senate

838 Hart Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone:  (202) 224-2251

comments@indian.senate.gov

Members:

Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair

Washington, D.C. Office:

322 Hart Senate Office Bldg

Washington, DC 20510

Phone (202) 224-2551

Fax (202) 224-1193

John Barasso (R-WY), Vice Chair

Washington, D.C. Office:

307 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Main: 202-224-6441

Fax: 202-224-1724

Tollfree: 866-235-9553

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:

141 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-6361

Fax: (202) 224-2126

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Washington, D.C. Office:

511 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

202-224-3441

202-228-0514 – FAX

202-224-8273 – TDD

Toll-Free Number for State Offices:

1-888-648-7328

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Washington D.C. Office:

172 Russell Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, DC 20510

Main: 202-224-5754

Fax: 202-224-6008

Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Washington, D.C. Office:

530 Hart Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510-3403

Phone: (202) 224-2043

Fax: (202) 224-7776

Online: http://conrad.senate.gov/contact

E-mail: https://conrad.senate.gov/cont…

Toll-free Phone: 1-800-223-4457

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Washington, D.C. Office:

239 Dirksen Senate Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-6142

Fax: (202) 228-1375

Al Franken (D-MN)

Washington, D.C. Office:

320 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-5641

Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:

722 Hart Building

Washington, D.C. 20510-1102

Phone: 202-224-3934

Fax: 202-224-6747

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Washington, D.C. Office:

404 Russell Senate Office Building                      

Washington, DC 20510

Tel: (202) 224-4224

Fax: (202) 228-0436

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST

Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Washington, D.C. Office:

136 Hart Senate Office Building,

Washington, DC 20510

Phone:  (202) 224-5842

Fax:  (202)228-5765

John McCain (R-AZ)

Washington, D.C. Office:

241 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Main: (202) 224-2235

Fax: (202) 228-2862

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Washington, D.C. Office:

709 Hart Senate Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Main: 202-224-6665

Fax: 202-224-5301

Jon Tester (D-MT)

Washington, D.C. Office:

724 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-2604

Phone: (202) 224-2644

Fax: (202) 224-8594

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Washington, D.C. Office:

110 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington DC, 20510

(202) 224-6621

For extra credit please read Land of Enchantment‘s diary:

Dakotas Snow Emergency: Charity and Beyond

Ojibwa’s diaries provide a lot of background also:

Indians 101: A Government Apology?

This diary is dedicated to my dear friend Winter Rabbit for his relentless work on bringing attention to Wounded Knee and other massacres.

The Wounded Knee Massacre: 119th Anniversary

Suicide State Of Emergency On Pine Ridge Reservation

Thank you Mr. Huey for contacting me with a link to your outstanding presentation. I hope many, many people see your TED Talk and contact the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

I wish I could join you on your next trip to Pine Ridge.

  Cross Posted at Daily Kos
 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.