Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rosebud, the Reservation - Devastating - Bewildering

To a world traveling photographer, the effects of 300 plus years of cultural domination, marginalization, extermination are nearly impossible for him to understand but keep drawing him back.

Behind the Scenes: Still Wounded

Aaron Huey arrived on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota at the start of a self-assigned photographic road trip to document poverty in America.

The poverty he found on the reservation stopped him cold.

I stayed with families in the most violent town on the reservation, a place called Manderson; often referred to as “Murdertown” by locals. I could have never imagined the living conditions that I saw. I knew the statistics about poverty, but the living conditions went far beyond poverty to even deeper, more dysfunctional problems. Black mold all over the walls of childrens’ rooms. Kids eating off the floors. Infants watching violent films on TV all night.

One of my other first impressions was people showing me their scars — self inflicted scars from their gang initiations. A knife heated on a burner until it’s red hot is then pressed on the skin, usually in stripes on the upper arm, creating terrible burns.

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