By Evelyn Red Lodge
The online version of National Geographic magazine will publish the unedited stories of any Oglala Lakota living on the Pine Ridge Reservation who is at least 13 years old. The date of publication is July 15.
International photojournalist Aaron Huey has been working for the last seven years to give the Oglala people a voice.
Huey contacted Native Sun News to help spread the word that this is the Oglala people’s chance to tell their stories in mainstream media–and without focusing on poverty, violence and alcoholism as seen in past mainstream media representations.
More on how this project came about:
Photographing, and Listening to, the Lakota
A few months after the Lens piece was published, Mr. Huey received over 40 letters from students at the Jesuit-run Red Cloud High School. Many of the letters asked why he couldn’t show families like theirs: sober, employed, “normal.” The students wanted him to balance the story and to include them. The letters stuck with Mr. Huey.
“I had been dissatisfied for years with the limitations of traditional journalism,” he said.
“A flaw of all journalism is that someone else is telling your story,” he said. “It was always through my lens, and they felt like that lens was distorted.”
During a yearlong John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University, Mr. Huey was able to distill his experiences and work on possible solutions to his problem of journalistic representation. Working closely with Jonathan Harris, founder of Cowbird, a participatory journalism and storytelling Web site, Mr. Huey developed a plan to help the Oglala Lakota tell their own stories, in their own words, and with their own photos.
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