When people come to Pine Ridge they fail and neglect to see the beauty Pine Ridge has to offer. I’ve lived here my whole life and never realized anything was wrong until an outsider pointed it out to me. Before I moved to Pine Ridge, I was always excited to visit, because my whole family was here. I use to live in Rapid City, SD until I was about 7. Living there, I never had any friends and was the only Native in my class, but once I came here I had tons of friends. I felt so much more at home here.
It angers me when I see the media portraying us as these sad broken down people. I believe we’re anything but. Sure there’s alcoholism here, but so does everywhere else. They only focus on the alcoholism. Why does White Clay, Nebraska have to be shown anytime someone is talking about Pine Ridge?
I want to show the world what I see when I look at Pine Ridge. I see that we have one of the most beautiful and unique cultures. Our people are so proud. Our elders are filled with history that they love talking about. We know when to laugh and how to laugh. I cherish and love all these things about Pine Ridge.
I hope I can open people’s eyes about the good of Pine Ridge with the photos I take, and for the people around here to appreciate what we have even if it’s not much to others.
Outsiders think we need to be saved, but from what? We can only save ourselves.
I took this photo at the 2012 Veteran's Powwow.