Award of Excellence
Danny Wilcox Frazier
The Aftermath Project/Redux
"SURVIVING WOUNDED KNEE"
The Pine Ridge Reservation is home to the Oglala Lakota, a tribe once led by the legendary war chief Crazy Horse. Pine Ridge is also where some 300 men, woman, and children were slaughtered by the U.S. 7th Calvary at the Massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890, the tragic end to the Indian Wars. The Lakota fought U.S. forces to retain the Black Hills, guaranteed to them by treaty, after gold was discovered there in 1874. Today, the Lakota continue the battle for the Black Hills through legal action. The Oglala of the Pine Ridge Reservation suffer conditions equal to the most impoverished nations in the world. Over 90 percent of Pine Ridge residents live below the federal poverty line, and the unemployment rate hovers between 85 and 90 percent. At least 60 percent of homes are infested with life threatening black mold. The tuberculosis rate on the reservation is 8 times the national average. Life expectancy is 48 years for men and 52 for woman. This is the legacy of a genocide committed for the advancement of America. The Lakota continue to resist and live traditional lives, a proud and strong people of the Great Plains.
The sun begins to set in the Badlands of South Dakota, the region that is home to the Lakota. The Badlands, a spectacular geological formation created by deposition and erosion, have much spiritual significance for the Lakota. The Oglala Lakota long resisted the U.S. government and continue their legal battle over the sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills). Originally confined to the Pine Ridge Reservation, today most Oglala live in abject poverty in what is the poorest region of the United States.