Take a look at NatGeo’s feature story, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Rebirth of a Sioux Nation“. It’s a moving piece looking at the way the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation are working to overcome historical injustices such as the Wounded Knee Massacre and numerous broken treaties. The article highlights the strength of Native culture and the resilient people of Pine Ridge as they nurture their tribal customs, language, and beliefs.
These are a few of Aaron Huey’s photos from the article.
Nine-year-old Wakinyan Two Bulls places prayer flags in a tree near Mato Tipila (“bear lodge”), or Devils Tower, in Wyoming. The story of the Oglala—their spirituality and their fight to remedy old wrongs—goes well beyond the Pine Ridge Reservation.
With the reverence afforded a sacred being, Oglala men fell a specially chosen cottonwood tree and carry it to the center of a Sun Dance circle. Erected in the earth, the tree will become the focus of a days-long spiritual ceremony. Sun Dances and other traditional ceremonies have undergone a resurgence since the 1970s.
After intense communication with the spirits, participants emerge from a steaming inipi, or purification (sweat) lodge. This ceremony was held by Rick Two Dogs, a medicine man descended from American Horse.
Oglala youths hold an upside-down flag—an international symbol of distress and an act of defiance toward the U.S. government—at a rally to commemorate a 1975 shoot-out between American Indian Movement (AIM) activists and FBI agents. Two agents and one AIM member died; AIM’s Leonard Peltier was jailed for life.
Riders take a break during a day of activities to mark the 1876 defeat of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.
Teenagers disregard the threat of a summer storm in the town of Wounded Knee. On December 29, 1890, at least 146 Indians were killed by the U.S. Army near here. For the Sioux and other Native Americans, Wounded Knee remains a potent symbol—geographically and politically—of historic injustice.