Friday, June 10, 2011

Honor the Treaties

Beautiful images from the Honor the Treaties project have begun to appear around Seattle and, I assume, around the country. The project is being led by Seattle-based photographer Aaron Huey who has been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently Huey came to the realization that another expensive book or a gallery show would be an inappropriate and ineffective way to conclude his heartfelt project, which ultimately seeks to give voice to a great social injustice and a forgotten history.

Huey’s photographs depict high unemployment, broken families, alcohol abuse and life expectancy lower than that in Afghanistan. But more than that, Huey’s photographs show the legacy of the lies and broken treaties of the US government stretching back over a century. If the Treaty of Fort Laramie from 1868 had been observed, for example, then the Lakota and associated Sioux tribes would own land stretching across five states.

Huey enlisted Shepard Fairey to turn selected photographs into posters, and is now calling on students, graffiti artists and assorted volunteers to take the images straight to the public — pasting them on the sides of buses, subway tunnels, bus stops and billboards. You can buy an 18×24 print here, signed by Shepard Fairey and Aaron Huey, to support the project.

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