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Video @michaelchristopherbrown. Men dance in competition during the 2017 Oglala Lakota Nation Wacipi Rodeo Fair Pow Wow, held annually on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I spent part of this summer photographing over a dozen Indian reservations in the American West, searching to photograph the beauty and complexities of these communities and lands, the symbols of both tribal success as well as issues perennially facing the tribes. I grew up near several reservations in Washington State though knew very little about them, a common experience for many Americans. During this trip I was struck by the indigenous stewardship to the land, from the elders to the seventh generation water protectors, of taking responsibility for what we are taking out of and putting into the earth, actively keeping track of it as a community and actively fighting for it. This stewardship goes back thousands of years, an egalitarian society where individual wealth was measured not by what was saved but by what was given away.
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