For the past six years, Aaron Huey has been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. His new project seeks to take that work and turn it into a grassroots information campaign, the Pine Ridge Billboard Project.
The grim statistics on Native Reservations today are the equivalent to that of a 3rd world country, revealing the legacy of colonization and treaty violations. Unemployment on the Reservation fluctuates between 80-90%. Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to 5 families. More than 90% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. The life expectancy for men is 47 years old - roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.
As Huey points out, he hopes that this project will "illuminate a hidden history and empower a community." To do so, he is teaming up with artists Ernesto Yerena and Shepard Fairey to turn his photos into powerful illustrations. The work will be showcased on billboards across the country and through an informative website, honorthetreaties.org. Learn more about the Pine Ridge Billboard Project and support it by clicking here.