Setting the Stage
Ask students if they have heard about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from the media or through social media. What information have they heard?
Explain to students that in the summer of 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in South Dakota was the site of months of protest. Explain that thousands of mostly indigenous people from North America and other countries gathered to oppose the creation of the oil pipeline that could threaten clean water sources across its almost 1,200-mile stretch through four states.
Camille Seaman, a Native American photographer, visited the protest site to document Native American voices and images. She recorded a series of images as part of a project called, “We are Still Here.” Seaman describes her perspective in her photographer’s statement:
“As a child, I knew I was different from the other children at school, but I could not articulate what that difference was. I was troubled when the textbooks we read spoke about Natives in the past tense —always implying that we no longer existed. We are still here.”
Ask students what they think of this quote. What do they think she means by “We are still here”?