Empowering Youth Through Photography
Introducing ‘Star Stories ’. Using visual media and photography, youth on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota explore the cosmos and reclaim the Star Knowledge that is central to their Lakota Sioux heritage.
Last summer, Rosebud Sioux tribal member Paula Antoine and photographer Robin Dahlberg launched a photography intensive for teens at the Boys & Girls Club on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Eighteen youth between the ages of 8 and 13 participated, producing visually compelling stories about themselves and their communities which were displayed widely throughout the Reservation.
About the Reservation and the Boys & Girls Club
The Rosebud Sioux Reservation is the home of the Sicangu Oyate (the Upper Brulé Sioux Nation), a branch of the Lakota people also known as the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The Tribe has a proud history and a rich culture that emphasizes strong family and community ties, consensus decision-making and respect for nature and the earth.
Yet, many Reservation families struggle with poverty, substance abuse and obesity-related health issues. Because of the lack of economic opportunity, more than 45% of Reservation residents live below the federal poverty line. These challenges weigh heavily on Reservation youth. The Reservation's teen suicide rate is more than five times the national average.
The Boys and Girls Club seeks to provide Reservation youth with the skills, resilience and self-confidence needed to confront these challenges and to become healthy young adults.
Behind The Scenes
Paula is a social justice advocate. She resides on the Reservation. Most recently, she stood in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, fighting the Dakota Access pipeline. She is also the chairperson of the Oyate Wahacanka Woecun – Shielding the People - a project of the Tribe.
Robin, Josee and Veronica met about six years ago while working on their MFA's in Photography at the University of Hartford. Robin now lives in New York City, Josee in Montreal, and Veronica in Washington, D.C.
Before becoming a photographer, Robin was a civil rights lawyer and worked with the Tribe over a period of ten years to ensure that tribal youth attending schools off the Reservation received appropriate educational services. She has taught photography extensively to both adults and children. Josee is interested in folklore, traditions and people’s attachment to places. She has spent the past 3 years working on reserved land exploring the territory and the culture of Northern Quebec’s inhabitants. Veronica’s work is greatly influenced by her Latinx upbringing. Using illustration and photography, she gives a platform to a voice that is often marginalized and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of culture and representation in art.
How Can We Help?
Help youth explore their cultural history through photography with the Boys & Girls Club on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
Your donation will directly help us defray equipment costs and the costs of transporting participating youth to cultural important sites throughout the Reservation. With your support, we will be able to present a contemporary exploration of traditional Lakota cosmology and provide a national audience for the artwork of group of talented youth.