Standing Strong: The birth of a Native American Civil Rights

CompanyJosue Rivas Foto
PhotographerJosue Rivas
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

For over six months, I lived in these prayer camps. In the summer of 2016, thousands of indigenous people and their allies had responded to the call by the Standing Sioux Tribe to come and to support them in their efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. The 1,172 mile underground conduit would transport 570,000 barrels per day from the Bakken formations near the Canadian border, into North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, terminating in Illinois. Previously, this project was meant to run north of Bismarck, but local white residents refused the project because they feared oil contamination of their drinking water. Dakota Access Pipeline then decided to run the project a mile North of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Residents of the tribe considered it a possible environmental genocide, as well as a desecration of their historical cultural sites. The opposition sparked the largest gathering of indigenous nations in U.S. history.

About Photographer

I'm a first nations documentary photographer, cinematographer, and film director specialized in working on stories that challenge the mainstream narrative about indigenous peoples. My work aims to create awareness about issues affecting native communities and to amplify the voices of those in the shadows of our society. Recently I spent 6 months living at the prayer camps at Standing Rock.