This Photo Exhibit Captures Standing Rock's Striking Beauty

All Photos Courtesy of Richard Tsong-Taatarii
All Photos Courtesy of Richard Tsong-Taatarii

The indigenous-led force against the Dakota Access Pipeline drew nationwide attention last year in part for its powerful visuals of protestors and communal activism. Now a Minneapolis Photo Center exhibit offers a collection of some of the most powerful of these images by photographer Richard Tsong-Taatarii, who told Earther the movement spoke to him.


Launched last week, “Lakota Resistance: The Bison, The Horse, and The River” captures not only the gloriousness of the protests at Standing Rock, but also the striking resilience of the greater Lakota people. The project was five years in the making for Tsong-Taatarii, who’s been shooting for The Minneapolis Star-Tribune for 18 years.

“It’s just a chance to see an alternative viewpoint of the world,” said Tsong-Taatarii. “It’s part of a worldwide indigenous environmental movement and cultural preservation and resistance movement.”

He’s right: Standing Rock’s fight against the 1,172-mile-long, now-completed crude oil pipeline is one part of this movement. Around the world, from the Amazon to the Pacific Islands, indigenous people are trying to preserve their way of life and the lands that make their lives possible. This means combating extractive industries and climate change.

Tsong-Taatarii wants to help convey this message through his exhibit’s 30 images. Hi first solo show, the exhibit will be open at the photo center until at least December 17.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.


5-7 years and big expensive pipelines like this will be unprofitable in the face of falling clean energy prices, and increased tech capability.

So big oil goes to all that trouble. And for what? A temporary revenue stream. It’s just so senseless when you consider that the people who lobbied for it are already quite wealthy and could by and large live out the rest of their lives in peace and prosperity.

If only they chose to do so.