Oceti Sakowin Camp
11/23/2016 - 11/25/2016
"Day of Mourning"
- Music -
"It's Natural To Be Afraid" - Explosions In The Sky
A Thanksgiving spent at Standing Rock
Throughout my life, the natural world has been my best friend. My most cherished childhood memories of growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania were not filled expensive gadgets since I had always preferred the rush of excitement of adventuring into a park for the first time. There is nothing quite like spending a day lost in the woods simply exploring. In fact, my decision to purchase my first DSLR camera was truly inspired by a picturesque blue sky filled with giant fluffy clouds. I remember randomly looking up from my phone and becoming awestruck. This visage reminded me of long summer days I spent as a child skipping stones, climbing trees and chasing dragon flies. It was beautiful and I wanted to share this beautiful moment with all of you.
Sadly we live in an age where people have forgotten the value of these natural areas and view them simply as a source of revenue. While I will admit that I am not a perfect environmentalist. I don't recycle as much as I should and I have certainly littered my fare share in the past. However as I have gotten older I have learned the errors in my previous habits and have strived to not only showcase the beauty of nature through photography but also inspire others to see the inherent value the natural world. I have learned through my efforts that one person with one vote cannot protect nature from our collective bad habits. In order to safeguard the health of our planet for future generations, we as a species must work together. Climate change is real. Science is not a conspiracy theory.
Upon researching our new president elect's views on climate change, I decided to spend my Thanksgiving with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. I felt powerless and disheartened by the fact that our nation was soon to be run by individuals that deny the legitimacy of countless scientists around the globe that unanimously agree that climate change is an imminent threat to all life on planet earth. I chose to stand with Standing Rock because I felt that a personal responsibility to do whatever I could to fight climate change and save the future of our planet.
Although I was only in North Dakota for a couple days, this experience is one that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Stepping behind the curtain of media portrayal, I witnessed the true soul of this movement and felt the sincere love and appreciation they have for nature. I stood with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and felt honored to have had the privilege to learn about their culture and use my media experience to support their cause.
Above this passage is the short film I shot during my time at the Oceti Sakowin Camp.
Mni Wiconi : Water is Life
Sacred Fire Ceremony
Crossing the Water
Turtle Hill Prayer Ceremony
The photos above were taken during a prayer ceremony at the base of Turtle Hill which is an ancestral burial site for the Sioux Nation. This ceremony was held on Thanksgiving 2016 which is considered a day of mourning among Native Americans.