A month and a half ago, I was deeply moved by an urgent plea for support from friends and relatives who are in solidarity with the people of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. As a Native photojournalist, I believe it’s important to let our people tell their own stories. That’s why I drove 1,545 miles to connect with the protectors of this land and report on what is happening here. This tribe has been fighting to protect their clean water, critical habitats, and sacred sites from an oil pipeline that would cross under the Missouri River.
For the most part I’ve been documenting the action on the front lines, but there came a moment when I realized I had to take a step back and see something else. I don’t consider myself a landscape photographer, so learning how to capture the beauty of the land was a challenge.
One day I sat near the Cannonball River and listened to the water. It was then that the spirits of this land told me to just follow my light. This is what I saw.