A Lasting Impression

Photos by Piper Watson (Staff) VisionWorkshops Pine Ridge


Pine Ridge came with a preface. One that was relayed to me with great emotional depth as a place that was overwrought with “permanent grief” and the repercussions that come with that. What I found; however, were nine kids with a glimmer of hope in their eyes, and an unmatched excitement by having a camera placed in their hands. The physical and emotional challenges that they faced and conquered, I hope, showed them an alternative way of looking at life, from the one that bears down on them all other days. With a fresh pair of eyes, we returned them to the reservation after three days of exploring the Black Hills. Thanks to our generous partner, Collette Foundation, their liason Cathy Donahue, our hosts; The SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club, and a wonderfully positive staff; Susan Poulton, Whitney Shefte, James Rhodes, and Chaz Thompson, we were able to make this one of the best visits yet to Pine Ridge, and hopefully one of the most influential.

Our final slideshow presentation took place during opening night of The Oglala Nation Pow Wow, projected outside and beneath stars that glittered in the blackest of skies. The Pow Wow was a great way for us to gain insight into the Lakota traditions and heritage, seeing performances firsthand and by talking with other locals.






A warm thank-you to the people of Pine Ridge for allowing us to enter their lives and continue to be a part of them.

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