First Impressions

Being new to the photography camps outside of our regional programming, coming here to Pine Ridge has, thus far, been a wonderful first-time experience. South Dakota greeted us with quite a storm, that we watched from across the rolling green plains, callused with these so-called Badlands. Moody maybe, but definitely not “bad.” One thing that we miss at our home-base in Maryland and DC are the wide open spaces where you can actually see the weather forming from afar instead of having to rely on radar.

Photos by Piper Watson (Staff) VisionWorkshops Pine Ridge


Coming onto the Indian Reservation of Pine Ridge, the landscape seemed to change and speak volumes of metaphors about the people who lived here. In our journey to recruit students and acquire parent permissions, it was not unusual to do so in passing on the highway, or to be given directions straight out of a movie pre-1958.
We were even lucky enough to have two of our students come from an active perma-culture farm that was serving as a model for other business start-ups on the reservation.

Although we had interrupted the volunteer workers’ lunch, they were still happy to meet us and show us around.

In the past, the Pine Ridge students that have come and worked with us have been a little bit older and more of a challenge to reach, in terms of where they are in their adolescence and place in life. However, this group is slightly younger and seems to be really excited to be a part of this experience- although it might just be the rock climbing day that we promised them! We shall see tomorrow!

(By Piper Watson, VisionWorkshops)

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